John Perryman wasn't sure he was going to make a wheat crop this year. Like many wheat farmers in Texas he faced challenges even before the seed was sown. But when it was time to put the combine in his fields around Moody, things turned out better than expected.
"This field was a bare ground at Christmas time," John Perryman said. "We'd drilled it in November and no moisture and it all came up when we got January rains and didn't think we had much chance to make a wheat crop but we have had some surprisingly good wheat this year."
Many farmers around the state weren't so lucky. The prolonged drought, hailstorms and six record late freezes damaged, if not destroyed much of the state's wheat. USDA is predicting yields down almost half from last year.
On a good note, the central part of the state finally began getting some rain just in the nick of time. Plus, cooler spring temperatures also allow some winter wheat to recover and regrow, helping to offset some of the freeze damage.
"It came up late enough and it headed late enough I don't think we have noticed any frost damage in our wheat," John said.
Wheat is grown on more land than any other crop in the world. The bread made from just one acre of wheat can feed a family of four for 10 years. And it only takes this combine about nine seconds to harvest enough grain to make 70 loaves of bread. Not only that, but more food is made with wheat than any other cereal grain. No wonder it is sometime called the staff of life. Farmers like John and his son Wesley are proud to grow a crop that literally keeps the world alive.
"The grain sorghum and corn we grow, we'll have city neighbors come out and say, "is all that the corn that goes into the can." No, no, no, it's all livestock feed. Wheat and cotton are the two direct human consumption crops that we grow," John said.
This field north of Moody is actually Wesley's. He grew up helping his dad harvest wheat, as well as cotton, corn, and grain sorghum, ever since he can remember. It was just a few years ago when he decided to come back to the farm and follow in his dad's footsteps.
"Once I got out of high school I went out and tried getting jobs elsewhere and I missed it," Wesley Perryman said. "So I told dad I was ready to come back and this is what I wanted to do."
Wesley's hoping for 45 bushels an acre. The statewide expected average is 27. Some Texas farmers won't even make 1, so the Perrymans feel very fortunate. Not too bad for a crop that they never expected to harvest.
By: Ed Wolff, Texas Farm Bureau