Oklahoma 2013 Wheat Crop Yield and Quality Suprisingly Good, Schulte SaysThu, 01 Aug 2013 15:07:11 CDT
The abundance of Oklahoma’s wheat harvest this year surprised almost everyone given the weather conditions producers had to endure. That’s according to Mike Schulte with the Oklahoma Wheat Commission. Schulte spoke with Radio Oklahoma Network’s Ron Hays and will appear on this week’s In the Field segment Saturday morning about 6:40 on News 9. (You can also listen to their full conversation by clicking on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story.)
“This was an extremely unusual year, a complete polar opposite from the year before which was an unusual year,” Schulte said. “I think it took us by surprise seeing the yields that we saw even in the far southern regions of the state where we thought there was going to be a lot of 7- to 10-bushel wheat that ended up making 15 to 20 bushels to the acre. We got into the central regions of the state where we saw a lot of wheat making in the mid-30s with some instances and reports of even 50 to 60 bushels in central Oklahoma. As we got into northern and north central regions of the state, the wheat in that part of the state did really well, too-45- to 55-bushel averages.
“We had the extreme drought conditions with the late freeze situations in the far southwest and Panhandle regions and that is going to hurt us overall. But if you take the state this past year with what we’ve seen here this harvest season, I think we’ll probably be somewhere around the five-year average which is much, much better than what we had anticipated.”
Schulte said he expects the final tally of the state’s yield to be somewhere between the 85.5 million bushels predicted by the Oklahoma Grain and Feed Association on May 1st and the USDA’s forecast of 115 million bushels. He said he expects the total to be closer to the USDA number.
Multiple freeze events didn’t do as much damage as producers first feared, Schulte said, and rainfall late in the season really helped with the grain fill.
As for the quality of the 2013 crop, Schulte said it was surprising as well.
“Overall, I think there’s a lot of good quality characteristics about this crop. Protein levels throughout have been really, really good. We had extremely high proteins in the south central and southwest regions of the state with some areas reporting 16 to 19 percent protein levels. I haven’t seen that in my time while being at the commission. Overall, I think, when you’re averaging the state, we’ve seen somewhere around 12.5 to 13 percent.”
Schulte said kernel size may be an issue in some parts of Texas and Oklahoma. He said he hopes kernel size is larger in the northern states to allow millers to blend wheat.
Test weights remained high until rains came toward the end of the harvest season. Weights started out in the 61- to 62-pound range, but finished in the 58- to 59 pound per bushel range, but Schulte doesn’t think that will be a huge problem.
“Overall I think it’s going to be a crop that the millers and the bakers are going to be glad to get. I know they are thankful compared to what we were talking about two to three months ago.”
Looking forward to the upcoming planting season, Schulte says producers will have much more subsoil moisture to work with than they have for several years. He says he expects producers will be running more calves on pasture this year due to full ponds and improved moisture conditions.
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