From 85-bu. yields in Ohio to zero in many Texas fields, the winter wheat crop has run the gambit. Some farmers are smiling and at times too wet. Many others are smoldering in the worst drought in more than 50 years. It’s a year they’d just as soon see in the rear view mirror.

As the long-lasting affects of La Niña keep skies blue and temperatures red hot, southern plains growers are thirsty for any type of soil profile to at least get the next crop off to a start. Dry, hot weather has blasted into some northern areas and has corn growers worried about pollination. Spring wheat condition, however, still looks good, says March Welch, Texas AgriLife Extension grain marketing specialist.

 “With the yield of the winter wheat crop pretty well established by this point in the season and 68% of it in the bin, attention for 2011 wheat production is focused on the spring wheat crop,” Welch says.

The most recent USDA Spring Wheat Condition rating in the Crop Progress report showed that 74% was rated good and excellent, up from 73% in these two categories last week. “Ratings at this level produced yields of 45 bu./acre in 2009. Yields look strong for 2011 but the overall production number waits for the updated acre survey numbers in the Aug. 11 crop report,” Welch says.

September and December spring wheat markets closed Friday at about $8.31/bu. at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. That compared to the Chicago Board of Trade September contract closing at $6.72 and the Kansas City Board of Trade September ending the week at $7.67. For growers looking at long-term marketing, the Kansas City July 2012 contract closed at just over $8.

Some Texas growers likely had rain for the 2012 crop in their sites when Tropical Storm Don swirled late last week. But like so many other potential rainy conditions that teased producers all growing season, Don stayed south of the border. It was yet another situation they’d like to forget.