Woodward, Okla. —
OKLAHOMA CITY - The USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has released very good numbers on the 2012 Oklahoma wheat harvest. Of course, officials agree that about anything would be better than last year's terrible drought-plagued harvest.
Although predictions for overall production continue to dip a bit, the state is still in a much better place than the same time last summer.
Oklahoma's NASS Director, Wilbert Hundl Jr., is reporting that this month's forecast of 155.4 million bushels of production is a whopping 121 percent above last year.
"The average yield is forecasted at 37 bushels per acre," he said. "That's 15 percent above last year."
Hundl said the acres harvested for grain in Oklahoma was up 1 million from 2011, at 4.2 million acres.
Nationally, he said 1.67 billion bushels is being predicted, with an average of 47.7 bushels per acre, 1.5 bushels more than last year.
Hundl explained the difference in the state and national per-acre forecasts.
"Oklahoma is primarily a winter wheat state," he said. "The national figures take into account the production of spring wheat in other places, and additional varieties of wheat are also harvested."
What about the return of dry conditions as the drought continues to expand across the state, and its effect on wheat production? Tim Bartram, president of the Oklahoma Wheat Growers Association, is not worried right now.
"This is our normal dry season," he said. "At this time of year, wheat producers are not concerned about the dryness very much. However, if the rains don't start back as we move into September, they'll start to get nervous."
NEIGHBORING STATES ALSO SHOW GOOD RESULTS
Hundl's report also showed improved numbers in each adjacent state, as well, helped by plentiful spring rainfall that also aided Oklahoma' s wheat crop.
Kansas was at 396 million bushels this month, up 43 percent from last year; at 91.5 million bushels, Texas is expecting an 85 percent improvement year to year; and Colorado was at 83.3 million bushels, up 7 percent from 2011.
Hundl said interested persons may view the complete state agricultural surveys and reports at nass.usda.gov, or call him for more information at (800) 525-9226.