The Freeze that occurred on April 15 in Young County and extending areas didn’t just represent another clear example of fluctuating Texas weather. According to Young County Extension Agent J. Brad Morrison, it had much more serious implications.
“We had temperatures drop down to 26 degrees starting around 3 a.m. on April 15, and that continued until 8 a.m.,” Morrison explained. “This occurred throughout the rolling plains of TX, including cities such as Wichita Falls, Childress, etc.”
The average date of the last freeze in Young County is March 13, according to Morrison. The mid-April freeze came over a month after the average, and the county’s wheat had just headed and was blooming, about ready for the process in which seed is pollinated and developed.
Because of this, Morrison said that a severe negative impact on the cash flow of agricultural producers resulted, especially since 2014 represents the third year in a row Young County’s wheat yield has been damaged by severe weather conditions.
“As for the two preceding years, in 2012 we had severe drought conditions that pretty much devastated the wheat crop, and then in 2013 we had another lake freeze,” Morrison explained.
Due to recent conditions, wheat producers have lately been left with two options. They can graze their crop out for livestock, or they can bail it for hay. Morrison said there has been a large demand for hay the last three years due to the drought conditions, but the value of hay is not as large as its value from a grain standpoint.
“The average wheat yield in Young County is 25 bushels per acre, making an acre of wheat somewhere in the range of $185 per acre if it is used as grain,” Morrison said. “From a hay standpoint, the income derived per acre of wheat is more like $75 to $100.”
Read the entire story in Wednesday's Graham Leader.