Mike Schulte Looks for Average Oklahoma Wheat Crop as Wheat Tours Go Virtual in 2020Fri, 01 May 2020 05:55:44 CDT
In a world where COVID-19 is the current reality- that means assessing the size of the hard red winter wheat crop in the southern plains will be totally different than has ever been seen. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays sat down Thursday afternoon with Executive Director of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission, Mike Schulte, to talk about the 2020 crop and the plans that the Commission and other wheat industry stakeholders have put together to allow wheat farmers and the trade to learn about conditions related to the 2020 crop.
About the crop- Schulte says that while there has been freeze damage in southwestern parts of Oklahoma because of the below thirty two degree - there is still some really good wheat in central, north central and northwestern parts of the state. He expressed worry about the western half of the Panhandle, as dry conditions have blown up into drought and likely sinking much hope for the dryland crop in that area. Schulte believes "I'm hopeful that we are going to have an average crop in the state but it's really going to be a challenge for those producers in southwest and south central Oklahoma."
What is average? Well, over the last ten years, the average production in Oklahoma has been 101 million bushels- top production over the decade coming in 2012 when Oklahoma farmers had 154 million bushels that came out of their fields while the low water mark was 47.6 million bushels in 2014 when everything that could go wrong with a wheat crop did.
Schulte says that because of the pandemic- there will be no annual meeting in May of the Oklahoma Grain and Feed Association, and that has been where the wheat industry has gathered to offer an estimate as to the size of the Oklahoma crop. Schulte says that OSU extension has stepped forward and is planning a ZOOM meeting this coming Tuesday, May 5th at 9 AM to walk through what is going on in he wheat growing areas of the state by local and area leaders, with the end result being an estimate for the 2020 Oklahoma crop, one week ahead of the first USDA estimate that will be coming on May 12th.
Click here to register for the May 5th Wheat Crop Assessment for he 2020 Oklahoma Crop.
Schulte adds that the Wheat Quality Council tour organized in Kansas will also become a virtual event this year. He says that plans are being made to conduct a limited, virtual tour of the Kansas wheat crop during the week of May 18. Organizers are working with certified crop advisors, Extension agents, elevators, farmers and others in the field to make yield and quality observations of the crop and share information during the tour. An estimate of Kansas wheat production will be announced May 20th.
Schulte reminds wheat growers that there are wheat plots all over Western Oklahoma that are up and growing right now- and while there will be no live "plot meetings" this year- producers are welcome to go in person and see the plots themselves. He told Hays that there are QR codes on the signs at the plots that identify the varieties of wheat being grown giving you a lot more information about that variety. The advantage to the grower is that they can compare varieties side by side and see how they are doing close to his home operation. Click here for the state map showing where the replicated wheat plots are located across the Oklahoma wheat belt.
In addition, there are currently two videos available where state wheat specialist Dr. Amanda Silva has offered a description of the varieties planted at the Altus and Chickasha wheat plots. Click here for our earlier story that features our conversation with Dr. Silva and includes the video links for both Altus and Chickasha.
There are also plans to do a live remote presentation at the Lahoma Experiment Station on Friday, May 8th to replace the cancelled Lahoma field day- details still to come.
Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear Hays and Schulte talk about the 2020 crop and how information is flowing about it here this spring.
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