Plains Grains Executive Director Mark Hodges Reflects on the 2017 Wheat Harvest in OklahomaThu, 20 Jul 2017 15:52:31 CDT
Mark Hodges, executive director of the non-profit wheat marketing organization, Plains Grains, stopped by the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network studios this week to visit with Farm Director Ron Hays, about the 2017 winter wheat crop, now that harvest in the Southern Plains has had time to be processed some in the minds of farmers and elevator managers. You can hear their entire conversation as Hodges offers some of his reflections on this year’s HRW wheat harvest is Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and further North, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below, at the bottom of the story.
Hodges gave an initial overview to the crop harvested this year, which he says in many ways, is comparable to the crops of recent years.
“In a lot of respects from a quality standpoint, it’s kind of a mirror image of last year,” he said. “From a production standpoint, obviously, we had pretty good production on acres that weren’t abandoned - but, we had a lot of acres of abandonment, which we don’t completely have our arms wrapped around yet.”
He continued, saying that even from a quality perspective, this year’s harvest was reminiscent of last year in the kernel characteristics of this crop, which are exceptional he says. On the other hand, however, this crop lacked the desired protein levels being highly sought in the market currently.
This was unfortunately the case due to the market’s lack of fertilizing incentive over the last few growing seasons which led to many farmers choosing this year, to forego the additional input costs of adding supplemental Nitrogen to their fields. What little if any Nitrogen that existed in the soil profile last year was easily sapped by the record producing crop of 2016, that continues to weigh on markets.
“We ended up with grain fill conditions and no stress at that point,” Hodges recounted, “and so there wasn’t anything to put protein in the kernels because there wasn’t enough Nitrogen in the profile to start with.”
Considering the production of this crop, it seemed in the beginning to be a bit larger than it has turned out to really be. Oklahoma’s wheat community originally figured total production would end up right at 100 million bushels; USDA officials estimated 89 million. The actual number is starting to appear now, and it looks as though Oklahoma is settling into about 90 million bushels. This is level is reflective of many producers’ decision to graze out their wheat fields, and chase their profit through the bellies of cattle.
“It’s pretty hard to argue with producers when at that time, the cattle market was going up and wheat prices were at $3.00-$3.20/bu.,” he said. “It’s pretty hard to argue that you shouldn’t run it through the cattle.”
To hear Hodges speak to the condition of the Kansas crop that was snowed under in the western half of the state and those crops further North, now choked by drought, click or tap the LISTEN BAR below.
Hodges will join Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays for his weekly In the Field segment on KWTV News9 in the Oklahoma City area on Saturday morning at 6:40 a.m.
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