Winter Wheat Heading May Indicate Southern Plains Condition

Earlier weather conditions may have increased vulnerability in Texas and Oklahoma.

USDA's first winter wheat heading report of 2009 shows the Southern Plains states of Texas and Oklahoma have winter wheat crops that are heading well above the five-year average.

"That is an implication with that progress ahead of schedule that the freeze we saw back on April 5, 6 and especially on April 7 took a bit of a toll on the crop," said USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey.

Rippey says that was to be expected across the Southern Plains, and Monday's crop progress report is starting to reflect that.

"Texas is such a drought affected crop that it is hard to hurt it very much more, but going from 64-67% very poor to poor between April 5-12," Rippey said. "We see some of the biggest impacts in Oklahoma. The crop there a week ago was 37% very poor to poor largely due to drought, but now because of the drought and freeze that number has reached 50%. Half the crop in Oklahoma is rated very poor to poor."

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