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Agricultural News

Winter Wheat Condition Worsens; Subsoil Moisture in Short Supply

Tue, 11 Mar 2014 16:32:07 CDT

Winter Wheat Condition Worsens; Subsoil Moisture in Short Supply
Above-normal temperatures and high winds are turning winter into spring rapidly Oklahoma State University Extension Wheat Specialist Dr. Jeff Edwards tells Radio Oklahoma Network's Ron Hays. The latest crop weather reports, however, indicate the condition of this year's crop is taking a turn for the worse.

"We're pretty short on moisture," Edwards said. "We still have some areas of the state that have good subsoil moisture, but we need some moisture-some topsoil moisture-in that top inch or two to really perk this crop up and bring it out of dormancy.

"And I've been a little bit surprised at that last cold snap. I didn't think we had that much freeze injury, but based on the calls and reports I've been getting, we have a lot more freeze injury out there than what I thought. It seems to be hitting in north central and northwest Oklahoma and is hitting the grazed wheat first or the hardest. Certainly we're not in a situation where I would count those acres out. I'm still taking a wait-and-see-approach. If there's green material out there they should go ahead and green back up if we get some moisture, but we were dinged up harder than what I thought with that last freeze event."

Edwards said the fluctuation in temperature during the last warm-cold-snap was very hard on the crop. Temperatures fluctuated more than 60 degrees in one day.

Surprisingly, Edwards said, he is still on the lookout for first hollow stem as the crop breaks dormancy and progresses.

"Normally by now we're wrapped up and we're done with first hollow stem. And we certainly are at first hollow stem and past it in most of the area of Oklahoma south of I-40. In central Oklahoma we're just now starting to hit first hollow stem.

"This is one of those years, though, that I'm going to deviate a little bit from my standard recommendation and probably we need to go ahead and get those cattle off of those acres and not wait for first hollow stem to hit. We're a little behind schedule in our growth and we're going to need that extra time."

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