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Agricultural News

Fair to Good Sums Up the Oklahoma Wheat Crop

Tue, 03 Mar 2015 16:50:10 CST

Fair to Good Sums Up the Oklahoma Wheat Crop Oklahoma's winter wheat crop still looks better than a year ago, despite the expansion of drought in the state.   The latest crop progress report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated one percent of the crop in excellent condition, 41 percent in good, 42 in fair and 16 percent in poor to very poor condition. Oklahoma State University Wheat Extension Specialist Dr. Jeff Edwards said this report matches what he is seeing on the surface.

"What concerns me again is the lack of subsoil moisture," Edwards said. "If we continue to get rainfall, we are on our way to a good crop, but it won't take but a couple of weeks of 80 - 90 degree temperatures and 20 - 30 mile per hour winds for what little moisture to be gone and we could be in a world of hurt in a hurry, if that happens."

Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays interviewed Edwards at the 2015 No-till Oklahoma Conference held in Norman Tuesday. Click or tap on the LISTENBAR below to listen to the full interview.

In comparing this year's crop to the dismal 2014 crop, Edwards said this is much better looking crop. He said this crop got off to a much better start in getting established. In most cases, he said the crop was planted a little late, so it is a little smaller than normal. With the recent snow and with warmer temperatures in the weather forecast, Edwards thinks this crop will come to life and will make up for lost time.

For producers with wheat pasture, Edwards said most of the crop south of Highway 40 is at or past first hollow stem, the critical time to pull cattle from fields to avoid drastically lowering yield potential. As temperatures warm up over the next week, he said the crop will quickly reach first hollow stem in the central and northern parts of the state and the Panhandle won't be far behind. He said at most producers have a week or so before the crop reaches that critical stage, so it's time for producers to make plans for those cattle.

The window to apply fertilizer to the crop is quickly closing. If farmers haven't top dressed with nitrogen, Edwards recommends doing it sooner rather than later. Once the crop is in the jointed stage, he said the return on that investment greatly diminishes.

Leaf rust and stripe rust are starting to show up. Edwards is concerned about the reports of both diseases showing up in Texas, as south winds can carry those spores north into Oklahoma. He said it is too early to tell if it is going to be bad year, so he recommends farmers wait and monitor the situation before applying a fungicide. He said typically the most profitable fungicide application is at flag leaf in late March or early April. Before applying, Edwards said farmers need to evaluate the yield potential of the crop before making the investment.

OSU has wheat variety trials going on statewide. Edwards said the trials are looking good despite the challenges with drought. He encourages farmers to attend any one of the OSU wheat field days that will be in April and early May. For more information contact your local OSU Extension office.


Ron Hays interviews Dr. Jeff Edwards of OSU
right-click to download mp3


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