When the warm weather finally got to the Carolinas and Virginia in April, a drive from the Below the Lake Area of South Carolina, up to southeast Virginia left one thinking what a huge and beautiful wheat crop farmers had in the ground.

Planting numbers supported that view.

And, small grain field days across the region indicated as of mid-May the crop was in good shape.

After that Mother Nature stepped in to throw growers a wicked weather curveball that didn’t destroy the big crop, but certainly created challenges for wheat harvesting and for getting other crops planted.

The Upper Southeast will likely harvest something close to 1.5 million acres of wheat this summer. Reports from throughout the Carolinas and Virginia continue to call this an average to good crop. No doubt the 2013 wheat crop will still be one of the biggest in recent years, but it now appears likely it won’t be one of the best.

Back in October and November when one of the largest wheat crops on record was planted, the situation looked great for grain farmers in the Southeast. A good crop of wheat at $8 a bushel, followed by a good crop of soybeans at $14 a bushel looked like a sure formula for economic success.

Even as late as mid-May, when a series of field days in North Carolina showed a good to very good wheat crop, the optimism for this year’s crop remained high. And, there was a lot of wheat in the Upper Southeast.

Many growers cut cotton, corn and peanut acres, making that decision last fall, when optimism for wheat and soybeans was so high.