The Woodward News

November 28, 2012

Continuing drought hits state crops

Gary Engel
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — OKLAHOMA CITY - Continued drought is damaging small grains and the canola crop in Oklahoma, according to a review from the United States Department of Agriculture.

The USDA's agricultural statistics services state office just released its latest summary.

Wilbert Hundl Jr., state field office director, said "the drought monitor last week continued to show all of Oklahoma in moderate to severe drought, with 72 percent of the state in extreme to exceptional drought, including Northwest Oklahoma, as of Nov. 20."

And that is a problem for wheat and canola, the official said.

"Reports of fields not yet emerged or in a declining condition were common," Hundl said.

He said emergence was behind normal progress and just 14 percent of the crop was rated good to excellent, in NASS’s latest survey.

Hundl said a number of producers were already facing the need to administer supplemental feeding. They were also experiencing dried-up ponds and any grass that was growing was considered poor.

Locally, several producers are currently grazing their livestock on the young (wheat) growth. Dana Bay, Woodward County OSU Extension agent-agriculture/4-H, said this is about the time for the grazing to normally start.

"But it's getting to the point where the producers are just having to go to this step to get as much good out of the crop as is possible," she said.

There are some areas where things are going well.

Hundl said NASS has determined that the fourth cutting of alfalfa was 83 percent complete by the end of last week, and that was 60 points higher than last year at this time.

The second cutting of other hay stood at 78 percent finished. That was 10 points below normal, but 17 points above 2011 progress.

Also,  the soybean harvest was 96 percent complete, and that was ahead of normal. Cotton harvest was 86 percent finished, well ahead of normal, Hundl said.

He said the peanut harvest was at 96 percent complete heading into this week.

Hundl reminded producers that the 2012 Census of Agriculture will start being mailed out in late December.

"Conducted every 5 years, the Census compiles data about American farms and ranches and the people who run them," he said.

Results of the Census:

- Help with the availability of operational loans and other financing from USDA and other sources.

- Determine locations and staffing of USDA Service Centers.

- Aid development of farm programs and policies.

- Assist with community planning.

The Census must be returned by Feb. 4, 2013, by mail or online at Get more information at the internet address. And watch your mail for the Census, added Hundl.