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Agricultural News

Mark Hodges Says About 75% of Oklahoma Wheat Crop Harvested

Thu, 19 Jun 2014 18:17:09 CDT

Mark Hodges Says About 75% of Oklahoma Wheat Crop Harvested

With the on-going drought, Oklahoma wheat farmers won't have the yields they like to see, but on the bright side this crop is above average in terms of quality. Coming up this weekend on the In The Field segment, Mark Hodges of Plains Grain will join Ron Hays in studio to talk about this year's wheat crop.

"Really this year is going to be the bakers crop," Hodges said. "Obviously the yield wasn't there for the producer or the yield is not going to be there for the flour millers, so it's going to be challenging for them, but it does bake a good loaf of bread."

Hodges says the test weights have been good, even after the rains the test weights have remained in the upper 50's. Protein is averaging well over 14 percent, which is great, but this crop has small kernal crop which will be a challenge for millers making flour.

"The miller is going to have a challenge with those smaller kernals," Hodges said. "If they try to blend it with previous crops or lower protein from some other state with it you're talking about larger kernals, so now you are talking about trying to blend two significantly different sizes of kernals and trying to extract the maximize amount of flour yield out of that."

This year's crop has seen a whole gamut of weather from drought to freeze to heat and recently heavy rains, all of which has effected the crop. Hodges says the April 15th freeze effected a widespread area of southern Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Beyond the yellowing in fields, he says the damage wasn't obviously ten days after the freeze, but its impact has become more evident as combines are now harvesting those fields. In April, northern Oklahoma around Woodward, Alva, extending into southern Kansas also had several 100 degree days, which also effected the outcome of this year's crop. Hodges says the yields in that area are comparable to the yields southwest Oklahoma and North Texas where yields were averaging from five to 30 bpa.

"So when you get down to the five bushel range, eight bushel range, will those guys actually harvest that crop," Hodges said. "At this point and time we just don't have handle on the total harvested acres at this point."

Currently wheat harvest is underway from Texas north within two counties of the Nebraska border, which indicates highly stressed wheat with poor yields.

"When you talk about wheat being cut from Texas almost to the Nebraska line it tells you the kind of challenges those guys went through this whole crop," Hodges said.

To date, Hodges says harvest in Texas is 50 -55 percent with a major portion left in the Texas panhandle. Hodges has high hopes for the irrigated wheat in the panhandle because there wasn't a lot of disease or insects and they had limited impact from the freeze, so overall they had pretty good growing conditions.

Harvest in Oklahoma is 72 - 75 percent complete. He says the major portion left to go in the state is north and east of Enid and the Panhandle. With the severity of the drought there have been much fewer custom harvesters in Oklahoma, so farmers are relaying more heavily on local farmers that do custom work to harvest the crop. With a lot of fields averaging less than 1- bushel per acre he says its hard to know how much of that wheat will be harvested.

Harvest in Kansas is 12 - 15 percent complete and harvest looks to progress slowly with predicted moisture for the coming week. Hodges says western Kansas was devasted by drought and some freeze damage, but with all the recent rain it will too muddy to get into fields with more rain being predicted.

Hodges also serves as the Executive Director of Oklahoma Genetics Inc. In looking ahead to the 2015 wheat crop, Hodges says OGI looks to have adequate seed supplies. This year a couple varieties that have performed well are Rubylee and Double Stop. In terms of seed production, he says they will have smaller seeds, which isn't a problem as long as the germination occurs and there aren't problems with crusting. With the smaller seeds he says farmers will have to adjust their seeding rate, otherwise they will be planting more seeds per acre.



Ron Hays visits with Mark Hodges
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