Fall wheat seed availability questioned before harvest
Early harvest has proven to have much lower yields and test weights, Brown said. Lower test weights indicate that seed count per pound will be higher. Seed counts will be very important for fall planting so producers can make appropriate determinations of how much seed to plant.
“If you lose that Foundation-registered class in your seed production, then the start-up again takes a lot longer. That recertification generally is more likely to happen when you have other places to go to recertify things. But trying to find a field, especially a dryland field, which would meet certification requirements and has any wheat to harvest, is going to be a problem this year.
“Talk to your seed dealers. Most of them can’t tell you what they are going to harvest yet, and I can’t tell you what we are going to harvest yet either.”
Dr. Travis Miller, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service program leader for soil and crop science in College Station, said cooler spring weather experienced across most of the state has helped what would have been a 50 to 60 percent loss of the state’s wheat yield to be only a 25 to 30 percent loss.
“Although it is still a little speculative at this point,” Miller said. “We know we had significant losses – 25 is a conservative estimate and 40 percent plus might be closer.”
He said many fields where yields looked marginal after the first freeze events did not receive additional irrigation and will experience higher losses.
Dr. Jackie Rudd, Texas A&M AgriLife Research wheat breeder in Amarillo, said the primary breeding locations that suffered damage this year due to drought and freeze were the Bushland dryland nursery, which suffered heavy losses, and the Chillicothe nursery, which saw 50-60 percent yield loss and a lot of sterility.
“The sterility means we have outcrossing, so we can’t go harvest it and think it is self-pollinated, so no seed source there for further breeding development of new varieties,” he said.
Bushland irrigated nurseries looked better, but a May 28 hail storm eliminated the rest of it, Rudd said.
“We have a lot of things growing at Castroville, and while we normally don’t harvest there, we needed to get what we could,” he said. “That field also was broken over by an earlier hail storm, but it was still harvested by hand off the ground and the germplasm was brought back to Amarillo.”