KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, U.S. — Heavy rains accompanied severe thunderstorms across broad sections of the hard winter wheat belt over the weekend. Moisture was welcomed across northern areas but may help further delay the expansion of wheat harvesting into central Texas. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Texas field office on May 13 indicated wheat harvesting was just under way in parts of southern Texas. Typically, harvesting there precedes combining across the rest of Texas by a couple or even a few weeks. The Texas harvest may be said to be well under way once the Fort Worth Grain Exchange issues its initial reports on the quality of new crop samples it receives. 

Last year, the harvest was off to an early start and maintained a record pace for the rest of the season as combines raced northward. The Fort Worth Grain Exchange issued its initial report on samples from the 2012 Texas winter wheat harvest on May 7, and by May 10, wheat harvesting was under way across southern Oklahoma. In 2011, the exchange issued its initial assessment of that year’s Texas hard winter wheat samples on May 12. 

But the past two years were the exceptions. In most other recent years, the exchange’s initial sample reports were issued between May 21 and May 26. 

Crop progress this year lagged the average pace across the winter wheat states, including Texas. Wheat headed in that state on May 12 was 62% compared with 97% in 2012 and 83% as the recent five-year average for the date.