Wheat - pt. 3

“I’d say this is considered excellent right here because we’ve, like I say, we’ve had our rains timely, very little disease pressure this year. It’s just had a good growing season so far.”

However Jimmy Killebrew says some years, depending upon the type of weather we experience, wheat can run into trouble.

“A lot of different forms of rust and mildew, and insects. Back earlier we had some aphids, some green bugs we had to take care of, and the green bugs really don’t hurt the wheat that bad, the just more or less transmit viruses to the wheat.”

Agri-Life Extension Specialist Gaylon Morgan says Aggie scientists are working on disease resistant and heat tolerant varieties of wheat.

“The general thought is if we have one day that’s up around ninety degrees, it can actually reduce yields 15% to 20%, just from one heat wave, cause again that plant more or less says, I need to go into the reproductive stage and make seed, so it’s going to get busy and make the seed it can make.”

Most people around here probably don’t think of Texas as being a big wheat producer, but Dr. Morgan says wheat is a major player in Texas Agriculture’s impact on our economy.

“Economic impact, if you consider market prices I think it’s gonna be, I don’t know if it’s actually above cotton yet, but it’s right up there, and that’s because again we have six and a half million acres of wheat planted.”

So while cotton is still king in the Brazos Bottom, over time we could see wheat play a bigger role in our local farmers’ planting strategies. I’m Joe Brown, tracing the journey our food makes from the farm to our tables, from the ground up.

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