Mark Gregory Says Southwestern Oklahoma Crops Need Rainfall, Moisture, and PrecipitationWed, 12 Dec 2012 15:48:10 CST
Continuing a special look at crop conditions across the state, the Oklahoma Farm Report turns its attention to southwest Oklahoma. Ron Hays recently spoke with OSU Extension Agronomist Mark Gregory at the inaugural meeting of the Oklahoma Wheat Growers and the Oklahoma Sorghum Association.
Based in Duncan, Gregory says dry conditions have had an impact on producers throughout the southwest, but with a few surprises.
“We’ve got some cattle out on pasture, believe it or not, and the wheat is up big enough. We got the growth on those few rains to give us the forage growth.”
He says wheat pastures are scattered, but extend as far to the southwest as Altus and northward toward Clinton. The lack of continuing moisture, however, may put an end to that.
“It’s going backwards now. Those big plants have used what little moisture they had and there may not be anything left for them.”
Gregory’s district also extends further to the east and he says drought conditions are definitely impacting producers.
“Even stuff that was coming up in Bermuda grass pastures that these guys were relying on is going backwards. So, we’re having some real problems on green stuff that we could graze right now. “
Gregory says not only are grass pastures suffering, but the canola and wheat crops are struggling, too.
“Those things are having a tough time. We’ve lost some canola because those plants, especially with the late planting dates, we had some of those early freezes, and those things took them out. And what’s left, the plants have gotten a little size on them, but they’re struggling right now because they’ve used a lot of that moisture that was there in the soil and we haven’t gotten anything else for them in most places.
“The small wheat, I think, is really struggling. Luckily, we don’t seem to have many insect problems yet. And I was really thinking between something like winter grain mites and green bugs, those might really be showing up. Now, they’re beginning to show up in some places, but I haven’t seen any yet that were bad enough that we need to treat for them. But they’re there and if this stuff keeps going, they’ll just get worse.”
Gregory says there are stands of wheat that did emerge near Altus and Cordell, but have since died back due to lack of moisture.
“We think we’ve got moisture down in, maybe, the top six inches of soil. We got wheat up on that. And now that six inches of moisture has run out. And we’ve got a lot of plants beginning to show, if not drought stress, some of these fields are flat dying. And I don’t know that I’ve ever seen wheat just die. Maybe one other time. But they are now. And if we don’t get the moisture, we’re going to start seeing those things get bigger or either or more of those fields start showing up that have spots dying in them.”
Gregory says a lot of producers are watching their winter crops closely and waiting before they make any decisions about spring-planted crops. There is a lot of talk about planting sorghum, but, unless weather patterns change, there may not be sufficient moisture to support that.
You can read the report from western and north central Oklahoma by clicking here.
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