Oklahoma wheat harvest well under way

by Jay Sjerven
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ENID, OKLA. — The Oklahoma winter wheat harvest was expanding rapidly across the southern part of the state, and combining was expected to begin across northern Oklahoma by this weekend.

The Oklahoma Grain and Feed Association indicated yields in fields being harvested across the southern half of the state were a “tad better” than expected. The U.S. Department of Agriculture in its May Crop Production report forecast the average Oklahoma wheat yield at 19 bus per acre compared with 31 bus per acre in 2013. Accounts indicated yields in many fields were that high with some fields yielding into the low 20s. Test weight mostly was ranging between 58 and 60 lbs per bu. Protein varied, but in dry southwest Oklahoma, protein seemed to be ranging between 12% and 14%.

At same time, abandonment will be considerable across parched areas of Oklahoma. After insurance adjusters write off the crop in those fields, whatever wheat they contained will be baled for hay.

The U.S.D.A. on May 9 forecast winter wheat harvested area in Oklahoma at 3,300,000 acres, down 100,000 acres from 2013. Wheat plantings in the state were estimated at 5,300,000 acres, making for an abandonment rate of 38%, similar to the 39% abandonment rate in 2013, when 3,400,000 acres of 5,600,000 acres planted were harvested. The abandonment rate in 2012 was 20%.

It should be noted the current harvested area forecast for the state was based on an assessment of the crop’s condition as of May 1, when 65% of the crop was rated poor to very poor. In the latest week, the Oklahoma crop condition was 78% poor to very poor, so the abandonment rate may end up being higher than what was indicated a month ago. The U.S.D.A. will update its harvested area, average yield and production forecasts on June 11.
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