While growers in the Midsouth are seeing bumper-crop yields at 70+bu., one of the worst harvests ever is being turned in by farmers in west Texas, where disastrous drought continues.

Much of the Texas Panhandle is still below 1 in. of precipitation for the first half of the year, while good winter and spring rains boosted wheat prospects in much of Louisiana, Mississippi and other regions. However, those Delta regions and others are also seeing their share of hot, dry temperatures.

The wide weather patterns are helping keep prices highly volatile, with Chicago prices, for example, jumping from $7.30/bu. in mid-May to above $8.30 about a week later, and back down to $7.30 in early June before settling at about $7.60 on Friday. It’s a situation that illustrates much of the winter wheat belt and was reflected in the latest USDA Crop Progress report.

While some major wheat states are seeing poor yields, overall winter wheat production is forecast up 2% from May at 1.45 billion bushels, but down 2% from 2010, USDA says. The U.S. winter wheat yield is forecast at 45.3 bu./acre, up 0.8 bu. from last month but 1.5 bu. below last year.

USDA says hard red winter (HRW) production, at 777 million bushels, is up 2% from May; soft red winter (SRW) production is up 2% and projected at 434 million bushels; and white winter production totals 240 million, up 2%.

In looking at individual states, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas are seeing the effects of drought on harvest numbers. Kansas is projected to harvest 7.7 million acres of wheat, compared to 8 million last year. But yields are the telling point, with average production pegged at 34 bu./acre, down from 45 in 2010. Total Kansas production is forecast at 261.8 million bushels, down from 360 million last year.

Oklahoma has a projected 3.4 million wheat acres to harvest, down from 3.9 million last year. The Sooner State’s yields are pegged at 22 bu./acre, down from 31 last year, with total production at only 74.8 million bushels, down from 120.9 million in 2010. Texas harvested acres will be half of 2010, USDA says, with 1.8 million to be combined, compared to 3.75 million last year. Average yields are forecast at 26 bu., down from 34 last year. Total Texas production is expected to be below 47 million bushels, down from 127.5 million in 2010.

Colorado is expected to see its production drop from 105 million bushels last year to 68.8 million this year, with average yields at 32 bu., down from 45 in 2010. While yields are weak in those states, there are strong production numbers over much of the nation. Washington, with 1.8 million acres is forecast to yield 118.5 million bu., a little higher than 2010 and an average yield of 67 bu./acre. Oregon, with 57.5 million bushels and a 71-bu. average yield; South Dakota, 74.4 million bushels and a 48-bu. yield; and Montana, with 101 million bushels and a 47-bu. yield are ready for combines to roll through good crops.

States like Arkansas, California, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio are among those that are forecast to see higher production numbers this year.

For more on the Crop Progress report, go online