Winter Wheat Harvest Resumes in State after Deluge

By Edsall, Christopher | THE JOURNAL RECORD, June 21, 1989 | Go to article overview

Winter Wheat Harvest Resumes in State after Deluge


Edsall, Christopher, THE JOURNAL RECORD


annual hard red winter wheat harvest resumed last weekend throughout Oklahoma.

"The rains caused harvest delays of 10 days overall," said Dale Fain in Enid. Fain is the Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service's area agronomist for northwestern Oklahoma.

"Normally we would start harvesting between June 7 and June 10. This year, we started on about June 17," Fain said. "The harvest is progressing as well as we could hope. "Probably within seven days, we'll have 90 percent of the harvest complete. We always have a harvest. There's always gonna be wheat out there. Wheat's a very tolerant crop.

"If the rains had continued 'til last Friday, we would have had 5 million to 10 million bushels less," said Maury Brannan, director of commodity and policy analysis with Union Equity Cooperative Exchange in Enid. Union Equity's elevator storage capacity is 50.3 million bushels.

"With the hot, dry weather we're expecting, the harvest is gonna continue at a pretty good pace," he said.

"The test weights have been running between 58 and 60 pounds per bushel," he said, "and the protein content has been running 11.8 to 12.25 percent per bushel, a little higher than average, which is about 11.6 to 11.9."

Sheila Alexander, marketing director of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission in Oklahoma City, also found a 60-pound test weight, in a survey of six grain elevator operators in Oklahoma.

"The 60-pound test weight is a number one grade wheat, which will give our foreign customers the quality they want," Alexander said.

"The crop did withstand the rain more than many people thought it actually could," she said.

"Before the rains started, southwest Oklahoma was 50 percent finished with its harvest," she said.

The Kingfisher area and much of central Oklahoma's harvest was 60 percent completed by Monday, as was that in north central Oklahoma, she said.

"They said there was not significant damage due to the rains," Alexander said of the elevator operator she questioned about the Kingfisher area. She also said he reported a good test weight.

The north central Oklahoma region reported an average yield of 38 to 40 bushels through Monday, Alexander said.

Northwest Oklahoma, however, may receive federal disaster aid, she said.

"They're looking at very low yields and a major wheat problem. One elevator manager was expecting a third of the crop to be harvestable."

Combines are cutting wheat 16 to 18 hours a day, Fain said. He said many fields are still soggy, especially in low areas. Therefore, in a given field many custom cutters are combining about 80 percent and leaving 20 percent for other harvesters.

"With the maturity of the grain, if we'd had rain for four or five more days, the yield probably would have deteriorated 10 percent more," Fain said.

"Harvest delays cut into yield, and the quality of the wheat," he said.

Fain estimated wind and hail damage is 30 percent more extensive in 1989 than in most years. …

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