Double-Crop Acres on the Rise in Oklahoma as Farmers Look to Recover Input Cost on Wheat FieldsMon, 14 May 2018 11:58:16 CDT
As summer quickly approaches, many producers are asking themselves whether or not they want to commit to double cropping this year, as a way to potentially recover some of the input costs they have invested into their wheat crops - many of which farmers have opted to terminate due to poor quality and little price incentive in current markets. During the recent Lahoma Field Day host by Oklahoma State University Extension last week, Specialist Josh Lofton spoke with farmers in attendance about some of the considerations that must be made for those that are seriously thinking about putting a summer crop in the ground. He relayed his message to Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Associate Farm Director Carson Horn. You can listen to his complete interview with Horn, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
According to Lofton, the most frequent questions he gets from farmers about double-cropping, are about the risks associated with it. He took time to explain some of the best practices farmers can adopt to help minimize that risk and hopefully increase their annual profit-taking.
“We need to look at planting dates, what population you plant it at, weed control is a big issue in double-cropping… There’s a lot of things we need to do in the next couple weeks to set us up for the best situation going forward,” he said. “What works best, though, is going to depend on your production system.”
Lofton says a farmer must consider what their long-term goals are, take into account what soil type they are working with and geographical location among other things when figuring out which of the many double-cropping options are available to them. He says often times, wheat and soybeans is seen as that stereotypical double-cropping system - but says there is a wide-range of other pairings that work very well together here in Oklahoma.
“You have canola, which is a really big winter crop around the state and we can see pretty good conditions of growing summers crops, particularly sesame or milo behind canola,” he said. “Some of our wheat ground, meanwhile, responds best with soybeans behind it or with corn or again, milo. So, there’s a lot of factors that go into it, but the good thing is that it allows growers to decide what’s best for their marketing option and to be quite successful at double-cropping here in Oklahoma.”
Historically, Lofton says about half to a little more than half of Oklahoma’s soybeans have been part of a double-crop system and until the sugar cane aphid appeared on the scene, a third to a half of Oklahoma’s milo was double-cropped. What we are seeing now, especially this year, he says, are a lot of wheat fields being released from insurance and baled up for hay. And, rather than leaving fields fallow, Lofton says many farmers are instead opting to plant a summer crop - which has caused an uptick in the number of double-crop acres in the state this year.
“We’re starting to see a lot of producers go for that double-crop option saying, ‘Yeah, I want to try to recover some of the input costs of my wheat if I’m not being able to harvest - maybe I need to put a soybean crop out there…,’” he said. “That’s kind of the thought process out there and I think our double-crop acres have been increasing the last several years and with the situation we’re in, if Mother Nature gives us a rain here in the next week or so, I think we’ll continue to see that upward tick continue.”
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