Mark Hodges Reviews Oklahoma's Wheat Crop Past and Present and What's in Store for the FutureThu, 11 Oct 2018 11:18:09 CDT
With more than 50 percent of this year’s wheat crop for Oklahoma already in the ground and excellent growing conditions setting in with the change of the seasons, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays caught up with wheat industry leader Mark Hodges, whom serves as executive director for both Plains Grains, Inc. and Oklahoma Genetics, Inc., for his outlook on this year’s crop and his thoughts on the new wheat varieties released by the Oklahoma Wheat Improvement Team recently. You can listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
Obviously, Hodges says, he is appreciative of the significant moisture that has Oklahoma has received in recent weeks- more than he remembers having going into planting season at least in the past few years. In some cases, though, he admits there has probably accumulated too much rain which may make it necessary for some farmers to reseed their fields. But, overall his outlook thus far remains optimistic and says moving forward, the weather will determine the grazing potential producers can get off their pastures this season. Fortunately, all indications point to this being an El Nino year which typically favors a warmer, milder winter.
In review of this past crop, Hodges was rather impressed despite its overall smaller size of production.
“This is one of the best high-quality crops we’ve had,” he remarked. “Not just recently but over the long-term. We were very, very pleased in the performance of the crop. I wish we had this kind of crop to market every year. Just would like to have twice as many bushels than this year.”
According to Hodges, the 2018 crop exceeded the five-year average in practically all kernel characteristics, aside from meal yield which was to be expected. His hopes of seeing this level of quality repeated have been reinforced recently, with the release of several new wheat varieties developed at OSU.
“They continue to amaze me every year. Just as soon as you think you’ve got the best of the best- they come up with something better,” he said, describing two of the new varieties as being general in nature and the other two, Baker’s Ann and Skydance, as possessing characteristics expressive of very high-quality potential that he believes will demand a premium in the marketplace. “It makes marketing much more easier when you have those types of varieties available.”
Hodges says these new varieties are in the process of building up for distribution from foundation seed and should be available to producers on the market within the next couple years.
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