Wheat Farmers Look to the Heavens- Praying for Rain This Coming Easter WeekendWed, 20 Apr 2011 6:30:20 CDT
There are two questions that almost every wheat farmer north of I-40 in Oklahoma is wanting to know today. The first question, will the predictions of rain in the next few days materialize? Will rain finally arrive in wheat country? The second question is- if that rain does show up, how much yield potential is left in my wheat fields?
We traveled through north central Oklahoma wheat country on Tuesday- and saw some wheat fields that still have some potential but badly need rain. Other fields are very uneven and have little grain production potential. We noticed several things in our windshield observations along with a few stops.
First- all wheat stands seem to be much shorter than normal. The plant simply has not grown as tall as in most years.
Second- virtually all wheat is now heading, well ahead of normal. the dry weather stress has pushed the crop much earlier than is normal. It did not matter if the wheat was thick and fairly even in the stand- or thin and very uneven- heads could be seen in every field that we stopped and examined.
Third- wheat fields are very dry- you saw some fields that were really green- but so many had more of a deep blue tint about them- a sign of needing moisture.
We have been told by Brenda Sidwell, Crop Insurance Agent based in Goltry, that the fields that are so uneven were probably grazed and never recovered once cattle were removed. She adds that fields that followed a summer crop last fall have had a harder time in this extremely dry weather we are dealing with.
Sidwell says most farmers who are her customers seem interested in holding on- hoping that we will get measurable rainfall this weekend. In some of the drier, sandier soils, that rain will likely be too little too late no matter what. Her adjusters have found some of those type fields west of Lahoma that they have predicted and adjusted as having two to four bushels of yield potential in them.
Sidwell agrees witht he general assessment that there are few wheat fields south of I-40 that could make a wheat crop- the lack of rain for this extended rain was a killer.
Click on the play button in the video screen to see pictures we took on Tuesday April 19- we have some audio commentary about what you are seeing with the video slide show.
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