Texas farmers and ranchers plant nearly 8 million acres of small grains annually, which include wheat (>6 million acres), oats (>600 thousand acres), and barley, rye, and triticale. Uses of small grains include grain production, winter pasture, hay, silage, wildlife food plots, and covercrops. Texas is the third largest wheat producing state in the nation, harvesting 3.4 million acres annually. Wheat has a cash value $288 million to farmers and generates $973 million for the economy. Additionally, small grain pasture plays a key to the Texas beef cattle industry with excellent forage potential and high quality.
Of the 6 plus million acres of wheat planted annually, about 40-45 percent is grazed out as a forage rather than harvesting for grain. Approximately 60 percent of the wheat crop is grazed at some time during the growing season. Beef cattle weight gains of 2.0 to 2.5 pounds per head per day are common on this high quality forage. For dual-use wheat, livestock are removed in mid- to late winter and the crop produces a normal crop of grain.
Oat is the next largest small grain crop, with 600,000 to 700,000 acres planted . In Texas, oats are primarily a forage crop, with about 25 percent harvested for grain and the remainder grazed until growing terminates in the spring. Oats are preferred by many ranchers and wildlife enthusiasts as a winter pasture due to rapid and lush fall growth and excellent forage quality and palatability. Barley, rye, and triticale are primarily produced as winter forage crops, although a small but significant market exists for Texas barley as a feed grain.
- Joseph M. Awika, Food Science & Technology, College Station, TX
- Dirk Hays, cereal grain development genetics, College Station, TX
- Amir Ibrahim , wheat breeding, College Station, TX
- Shuyu Liu, small grains geneticist, Amarillo, TX
- Dariusz Malinowski, wheat and forage crops, Vernon, TX
- Jake Mowrer, Soil Chemistry & Fertility, College Station, TX
- Fernando Guillen-Portal, small grains and oilseed, College Station, TX
- Jackie Rudd, wheat breeding, genetics, Amarill, TX
- Calvin Trostle, Extension agronomist, grain crops, peanuts, precision agriculture, Lubbock, TX
- Russ Garetson, Extension Program Specialist I, College Station, TX
- Kevin Heflin, Extension Program Specialist I, Amarillo, TX
- Developing a better understanding of the mechanisms that regulate seed development and associated end-use quality in wheat, related cereals
- Application of molecular genetic techniques with emphasis in molecular markers, to complement and advance breeding programs and to understand crop genetic architecture.
- Extension – Provide economically and environmentally sound recommendations to the Small Grain producers within the state of Texas
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