Mike Schulte Speaks on the Many Factors at Play that Could Determine OK's Wheat Crop SuccessMon, 13 Feb 2017 17:17:40 CST
While the groundhog predicted six more weeks of winter, you wouldn’t know it as temperatures across Oklahoma seem to be on a steady rise much earlier than typically seen. This is causing many producers in the state worry as the possibility of their wheat coming out of dormancy early, due to the warming temperatures, becomes more and more threatening. If this happens, farmers may be forced to make some management decisions that don’t usually come quite this early in the year. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays spoke with the Oklahoma Wheat Commission’s Executive Director Mike Schulte about this situation and many others that will factor into the success of this year’s crop.
“I think things overall in the state right now, today, look very good because we have received moisture in most parts of the state,” Schulte said alluding to the drought-like conditions most Oklahomans have been experiencing. “It’s amazing how that moisture helped us along.”
Schulte shares hope with farmers around the state, too, that rain in this week’s forecast will put conditions in even better shape moving forward.
However, as mentioned, temperatures are on the rise which mean First Hollow Stem could come early this year which would mean running the risk of a late freeze before spring makes it to the Plains. The decisions farmers will need to make at that time will have as much of an effect on wheat prices as will the number of acres harvested, says Schulte.
According to State Grain Economist Dr. Kim Anderson, about 70 percent of the planted crop here in Oklahoma is generally harvested. Schulte points out that this year’s planted acres are already down about 10 percent. He says that if the normal amount of wheat is harvested, that only adds up to just a little over 3 million acres, much less than normal for Oklahoma. Coupled with everything else, this could greatly impact the price of wheat come harvest time.
However, Schulte bears uplifting news about the upcoming Farm Bill talks.
“One thing is certain as we move forward,” he said. “The message that I get is that the focus is going to be on economic development for jobs, rural infrastructure for the central United States and certainly going to be hopefully a wonderful time to see some reforms made in regards to agricultural policies and issues that are going to be more advantageous to us then what we’ve seen the last 10 to 15 years.”
And among other topics discussed, Schulte promoted Oklahoma’s variety trial program as a beneficial tool to aid producers in their decision making and research processes.
“Oklahoma has the best variety trial program in the United States,” he proclaimed. “It’s really a wonderful opportunity to see what is going on out in a field based on how actual producers are using those varieties in the state.”
He explains that with varieties being released much faster these days, producers have to be more knowledgeable about what will work for them, and says these wheat plots help tremendously in providing options that may translate into more profits.
Listen to Hays’ complete conversation with Schulte about all that the Oklahoma Wheat Commission is working on right now to promote the state’s wheat industry, by clicking or tapping on the LISTEN BAR below.
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