Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

State Wheat Producers Hope to End Smallest Harvest in 13 Years

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

State Wheat Producers Hope to End Smallest Harvest in 13 Years

Article excerpt

Weary Oklahoma wheat producers are sloshing through the last few acres of crop this week hoping to end a five-week long harvest b eset by heavy rains and the smallest yields in 13 years.

Oklahoma State Cooperative Extension Service wheat experts said Thursday about 5 percent to 10 percent of the wheat remains in the fields. But they said the remaining crop - generally waterlogged and of inferior quality - would represent only about 2 percent to 3 percent of what goes to market.

And prices the farmers get probably won't be termed for next couple of weeks.

The Oklahoma Agricultural Statistics Service's June 1 production estimate stood at 145.6 million bushels. Daryl Brinkman, an agency statistician, said the figures could change when the new crop estimate is released July 11.

""In any case, we're going to have the lowest harvest since 1973,'' Brinkman said.

The 1985 harvest produced 165 million bushels of wheat at a yield of 30 bushels per acre. The estimate for the 1986 harvest is about 28 bushels an acre. He said 5.5 million acres were planted in 1985, compared to 5.2 million this year.

""The acreage is down; the yield is down,'' Brinkman said. ""But we have had the rain. We had very dry weather earlier in the year and there's been some problems with diseases.''

Dale Fain, extension service area agronomist in Enid, said northwestern Oklahoma producers were getting into low-lying fields this week to close out the harvest.

""These are fields that were under water and where the cutting was delayed,'' Fain said.

""This is one of our wetter Junes. We had 17 inches of rain in June out here. In the low-lying fields, the wheat is down and it hasn't dried. These fields probably contain 8 percent to 10 percent of the crop that was planted. But it won't represent but 2 percent to 3 percent of what the total is that goes to market,'' he said.

Fain said the work now is more of a ""salvage, marginal harvest'' with farmers cutting the wheat to prepare for next year's planting program. …

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