2014 Wheat Harvest Looks Grim without Immediate Rainfall, Schulte SaysThu, 03 Apr 2014 17:25:21 CDT
Each passing day that brings no rain to Oklahoma is just one day closer to a disappointing harvest. So says Mike Schulte, the executive director of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission. He spoke with Radio Oklahoma Network's Ron Hays and will appear on "In the Field" on News 9 Saturday about 6:40 a.m. A crop that earlier appeared on track to deliver a bountiful harvest may now be in jeopardy, Schulte said.
"A few weeks ago I had promised that there was going to be good potential for the wheat crop in the state of Oklahoma for this 2014 harvest. But, no doubt, with the lack of moisture that we've seen and the high winds over the past three to four weeks pretty much from southwest on up into central and northwest corridors, the wheat crop is really hurting."
Some isolated areas have received as much as an inch of rain in the past few weeks, but, Schulte said, even those crops are seeing a lot of stress. The crop in north central Oklahoma near Ponca City is still looking very good, however, as is the irrigated wheat in the Panhandle. The dryland wheat in the Panhandle region, though, except for a small area in Beaver County is pretty much gone.
Schulte said there are areas across western Oklahoma that have gone more than 102 to 152 days with less than two- to three-tenths of an inch of rain.
"When you have a situation like that, you can have all the best genetics in the world for wheat breeding, but you still have to have moisture to grow that crop and those areas are significantly hurting right now."
Schulte said it appears as if farmers in the southern part of the state will need to see some very significant rainfall in the next week if they are to have some hope of salvaging this year's crop.
In addition to the worsening drought conditions, Schulte said some producers are now battling brown wheat mite in southern and northwestern Oklahoma, but there have not been any reports of fungal infestations so far.
Schulte said he expects the USDA will further downgrade the condition of the state's crop in its next Crop Progress and Condition report next week.
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