Woodward, Okla. —
The 2013 winter wheat crop appears to be getting off to a dry start.
According to Oklahoma Mesonet data, available at mesonet.org, the statewide average for total rainfall in the last 30 days is 1.09 inches, which is more than 2 inches below normal.
This puts October 2012 as the 16th driest October in Oklahoma since 1921, according to mesonet.org.
And combined with the ongoing drought conditions throughout the state, the need for precipitation is only increased even more.
"We need it (moisture) desperately now," said Dana Bay, Woodward County OSU Extension Educator-Agriculture/4-H. "We'll take it any way we can get it."
DESPITE EMERGING, SOME WHEAT NOT GROWING
On a positive note, winter wheat seems to be emerging a little ahead of schedule.
"According to the latest USDA Ag Statistics report we are 71 percent emerged, which is actually ahead of last year and slightly above the 5-year average," said Tim Bartram, president of the Oklahoma Wheat Growers Association.
This advance in emergence may have been helped by earlier planting, according to Mike Schulte, executive director of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission.
Schulte said at this point, the 5-year average is to have 86 percent planted. Currently Oklahoma stands at 92 percent planted, he said.
He said farmers were also planting their seed deeper to try and enhance germination and help ensure success of the developed crop.
USDA is currently rating the crop as "fair," Bartram said.
However, after talking with farmers and elevator managers across the state during the past couple of weeks, he said a different, somewhat dimmer, picture is being painted.
"While there are areas of the state that the crop is in good shape and even some (resulting in) wheat pasture, there is a large area of the state not in good condition," he said. "There are places the wheat hasn't come up and won't without some good rain."
In addition, Bartram said that in some areas the wheat has emerged but its growth has stopped.
"It actually may be going backwards in places," he said. "A good rain is needed soon to give us a chance for a good crop."