Oklahoma's wheat plantings 82% completed, 50% emerged, USDA says; corn 94%, sorghum 35% harvested

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma , October 25, 2011 (press release) – The past week brought scattered rain, hail, and freezing temperatures across much of the state. Rain was reported in seven of the nine reporting districts with both Panhandle and West Central districts reporting no measurable rain, while the Southeast district reported 1.46 inches. Mesonet reported wind gusts ranging from 63 mph at the Ketchum Ranch to 70 mph gusts reported in Hectorville in the last seven days. Okfuskee County reported softball sized hail, damaging winds and a tornado on Saturday, October 22nd. Eight of the nine reporting districts reported low temperatures below 32 degrees, with both Nowata and Tahlequah recording a low of 23 degrees on Thursday, October 20th. While the recent rains were welcomed, the state remains in a severe-to- exceptional drought, which has sparked concerns over reservoir levels in eastern Oklahoma. Topsoil moisture conditions declined from last week with 31 percent rated very short, compared to 28 percent last week. Subsoil moisture conditions showed no improvement, with 70 percent rated very short, compared to 69 percent the week before. There were 6.4 days suitable for field work.

Small Grains: Small grains and canola producers were in the field with planting in full swing. Seedbed preparation for wheat ground was 98 percent complete by week’s end and planting reached 82 percent complete, up 19 points from the previous week. Wheat emerged was 50 percent complete, 14 points behind the five-year average. Canola planting reached 93 percent, three points ahead of last year. Sixty-six percent of canola had emerged by week’s end, nine points behind last year. Seedbed preparation for rye was 95 percent complete, and planting reached 87 percent complete by Sunday, 10 points behind normal. Sixty-four percent of rye had emerged by the end of the week, 22 points behind the five-year average. Seedbed preparation for oat ground was 75 percent complete. Oat planting reached 39 percent complete by the end of the week, and 21 percent had emerged, 11 points behind normal.

Row Crops: There was very little change as most row crops continued to be rated poor to very poor with only peanuts rated fair to good. The corn harvest was 94 percent complete by week’s end. Sorghum coloring was 92 percent complete, five points behind normal. Sixty-nine percent of sorghum had matured, and 35 percent was harvested by Sunday. Soybeans setting pods reached 95 percent complete, and 51 percent were mature by week’s end, 18 points behind the five-year average. Twenty-two percent of soybeans had been harvested, 16 points behind normal. Eighty-two percent of peanuts had matured by Sunday and 47 percent were dug, 17 points behind the five-year average. Sixteen percent of peanuts have been combined, 27 points behind the five-year average. Cotton plants opening bolls reached 87 percent complete by week’s end, nine points behind normal. Eight percent of cotton had been harvested, 13 points behind the five-year average.

Hay: There was little activity last week in hay fields. Third cuttings of alfalfa were 63 percent complete, and 14 percent of the state had completed a fourth cutting, compared to a five-year average of 100 percent. A second cutting of other hay reached 56 percent complete by Sunday, 28 points behind normal.

Pasture and Livestock: Eighty-eight percent of pasture and range conditions are rated poor to very poor. Sixty- eight percent of livestock conditions are rated fair to poor. Hay shortages continued with some relief coming from fall planted pastures. Prices for feeder steers less than 800 pounds averaged $139 per cwt. Prices for heifers less than 800 pounds averaged $129 per cwt.

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