Kimberly Cantrell, Texas Wheat Intern

Another harvest season for hard red winter (HRW) wheat is drawing to a close in Texas. The USDA Crop Progress report for the week of June 25 indicated that Texas is 87 percent complete, as only the northern regions of the Panhandle remain to be harvested. On a national level, 41 percent of harvest is complete.

Due to less planted acres, HRW wheat harvest has progressed quicker on a national and regional scale this year. Texas wheat producers are expected to harvest 2.3 million acres in 2017, down 18 percent from the 2.8 million acres harvested in 2016. Similar drops in harvested acres can be seen across the nation, especially in the Great Plains region. However, harvest is still far from completion in many areas; Kansas is 48 percent complete and Colorado and Nebraska are each one percent complete, while many states have not started harvest at all.  

As HRW wheat harvest concludes, firmer averages will be calculated for yield and protein data. At this point of the season, test weights are strong at an average 60.9 pounds per bushel, compared to 60.7 pounds per bushel in 2016, according to a report from Plains Grains Inc. issued one June 23. Average protein was calculated at 11.1 percent for 2017, down from 11.2 percent in 2016. Comparatively, the average protein in 2015 was 12.3 percent and 13.4 percent in 2014. The data for the Plains Grains Inc. report was determined from a basis of 133 of 530 samples from Texas, Oklahoma and southern Kansas.

Millers are turning their attention to soft red winter (SRW) wheat, typically higher in protein, for their flour blends. SRW harvest is estimated to be completed faster than average, based upon current completion data. In their harvest update on June 23, the U.S. Wheat Associates reported 2017 SRW wheat to be averaging a test weight of 58.8 pounds per bushel, compared to 58.6 pounds per bushel in 2016. These averages were based on 135 of 500 samples from southern states.  

Low protein averages in HRW wheat can be attributed to dry conditions throughout the nation during the HRW growing season. However, final national averages will not be released until harvest is completely finished.

For more information on harvest throughout the country visit here.