OSU Wheat Specialist Sees Big Wheat Crop But Also Sees a Few IssuesWed, 02 May 2012 17:09:35 CDT
Predictions of the size this year’s hard red winter wheat crop are far above the dismal showings of the last few years, but OSU Extension Small Grains Specialist Dr. Jeff Edwards is just slightly less optimistic than his peers.
After looking at their fields, traveling the state on crop tours and crunching some numbers, the members of the Oklahoma Grain and Feed Association estimated at their recent meeting that we’ll see a total of 156 million bushels on a little more than four million harvested acres. That compares with 70.4 million bushels last year, 102.9 million the year before that, and 77 million in 2009.
Edwards spoke with Ron Hays at the meeting and says 156 million is not outside the realm of possibility, but he shaves that number just a bit.
“I think we’ll be closer to that 150-million, maybe a little below that, and I attribute most of that to the heat that we’ve had,” he says.
In addition to the heat, “we’re seeing a lot of issues around the state,” Edwards says. “We’ve seen a lot of lodging in wheat that was really thick that had extremely good potential. We’ve had lodging in those crops as a general rule.
“We’ve seen some disease pressure out there. We’ve seen strip rust devastate a few varieties out there around the Marshall, Oklahoma, area, kind of the epicenter for stripe rust infestation.”
Most of those issues are isolated, but they do add up.
On the positive side of the ledger, Edwards says he’s been impressed with field trials of several varieties this year.
“The new OSU variety Gallagher, if I had to pick a favorite this year, is probably one of my favorites. The other ones, Garrison, Iba, Ruby Lee are all looking great. Our perennial favorite Duster that’s now the most popular variety in the state, I look for it to have a decent year, but I don’t believe it’s going to be a Duster year like it was a couple of years ago.”
The test plots haven’t all fared as well, Edwards says, with some varieties really taking a hit.
“We’ve seen the stripe rust package on some of these newer varieties break down this year. Everest, Pete and Armour were all highly resistant to a race of stripe rust we’ve dealt with in the past, but were all devastated. They were all hammered by stripe rust this year and would be rated in a ‘very susceptible’ category.”
He says it’s a good lesson that pathogens will adapt.
Harvest will start early this year and, given good weather, will end early as well Edwards says.
“I think we’ll be into harvest in southwest Oklahoma certainly by May 15th there will be some wheat going through a combine. Maybe a few early folks combining wheat before, but I think we’ll get rolling by mid-May and be well into harvest. And, depending on what the temperatures look like, we could have harvest wrapped up, by and large in Oklahoma, by mid-June, a good two weeks maybe a little more ahead of schedule.”
You can hear the full conversation between Ron Hays and Jeff Edwards by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
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