WheatWatch 2013: Oklahoma Remains on Track for Half a Crop--Compared to 2012 HarvestFri, 24 May 2013 17:34:51 CDT
Mike Schulte, executive director of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission has been traveling through the Panhandle wrapping up the 2013 wheat plot tour. He spent the last few days near Balko and Hooker and said during an interview with Radio Oklahoma's Ron Hays that , surprisingly, the test plots looked better than he thought they would. (You can hear the full interview by clicking on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story.)
"We are seeing more tillering take place and, therefore, it does look like there's going to be something to harvest at those variety trials. It's probably not going to be our best harvest out here and we are going to need to have a little more moisture from here on out between today and when harvest actually takes place."
Unfortunately, Schulte said, what he saw in the test plots does not generally hold true throughout the rest of Beaver and Texas counties.
"As I drove through the Panhandle today, I didn't see any wheat that looked like it was going to be harvested. If it is going to be harvested, it's in very sporadic places. In many places it looks like it froze out completely; it's already white in the field and laying over. I haven't been out to Cimarron County but I've heard they've seen much the same thing out there."
Schulte said the dry land wheat that will be harvested might make five to ten bushels to the acre. He said there may be some spotty areas that have received a little more moisture that may produce 15 to 20 bushels per acre, but only if more moisture is received before harvest time in late June or early July.
Even with moisture, Schulte said it is hard to be optimistic about this year's wheat crop in the Panhandle.
"Generally the Panhandle region brings in about 15 to 16 million bushels of wheat. I'd be really surprised if we bring in one million to two million bushels of wheat."
In the southwest part of the state, Schulte said he spoke with one producer who thought he might be cutting a heavily-grazed field by May 31st, but its yield potential would be low.
The wheat looks better in central Oklahoma, but Schulte says hail and freeze damage have taken their toll. He said the heads don't seem to be filling well in many areas.
If there is a bright spot this year, Schulte said it is in the north and northeastern regions of the state where the wheat looks good and yield potential seems high. Wheat that didn't emerge until very late-in December and February-seems to be in the best shape of all since it was so far behind. Freeze damage does not seem to be significant in the Lahoma, Goltry and Helena areas.
The USDA estimated the Oklahoma wheat crop to be in the 114- to 115-million-bushel range. Schulte thinks that is wildly optimistic.
"Looking at the state overall, I think that estimate is extremely high. I'm suspecting that number's going to come down as soon as the next estimates come out."
Schulte said he thinks the crop will even come in below the 85.5-million-bushel estimate from the Oklahoma Grain and Feed Association.
The 2012 wheat crop came in at 154-155 million bushels and Schulte said he the crop this year will be lucky to make even half of that.
"I don't always like to estimate this early on out, but-and I hope I'm wrong-I think we're much closer to that 70- to 75-million-bushel range than we are even at the 85."
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