Wildfires are adding to an already-serious situation for Texas wheat producers, according to the weekly crop report from Texas AgriLife Extension Service personnel.
“It’s bad and getting worse,” said AgriLife Extension economist Dr. Mark Welch. “It looks like the 2011 crop, in terms of production and yields, is going to look like the 2009 crop — perhaps even as bad as the 2006 crop; just disastrous wheat years in Texas.”
Welch said this year’s crop condition ratings show about 40 per cent of the Texas crop in very poor condition, which compares with 65 per cent very poor in March of 2006 and 53 per cent very poor in May of 2009.
In an average year, Texas farmers will produce 100 million bushels of wheat, but this year it looks like it’s going to be a third of that, Welch said.
As of Tuesday morning, the Texas Forest Service reported there were 20 uncontained fires from previous days. The largest uncontained fire was in Stephens and Palo Pinto counties, estimated to have burned 147,000 acres to date. Other smaller fires had burned 31 homes and another 600 were at risk.
Of the state’s 254 counties, 198 were under burn bans as of Monday, according to the Forest Service.