Oklahoma's wheat planting 96% complete, 86% emerged, USDA says; 61% of soybeans, 59% of sorghum harvested

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma , November 15, 2011 (press release) – Severe Weather Brought Generous Rainfall

A severe storm system made its way through Oklahoma last Monday, starting out in far southwestern Oklahoma and spawning six tornadoes. The first tornado to touch down was rated EF-4, making it the strongest known tornado in Oklahoma for the month of November. The storms also brought welcomed rainfall, averaging just over two inches for the state over the past week. Although the Panhandle only received 0.6 of an inch, all other districts averaged over an inch of rain, and the East Central District averaged 3.47 inches for the week. The Haskell Mesonet station recorded 5.74 inches for the seven-day period and many stations recorded in excess of three inches. Even with the generous rainfall, all districts are still behind normal precipitation for the period since September 1, with the Panhandle and Southeast districts at 66 percent and 53 percent of normal, respectively. The November 8th Drought Monitor showed improvement with about two-thirds of the state in an extreme to exceptional drought, compared to over 85 percent the previous week. The rainfall benefitted the state’s wheat and other fall planted crops, while fall harvest was slowed for a few days. Some areas received enough run-off to replenish livestock ponds, though the need is still great. Topsoil moisture conditions showed the benefits of recent rains with over half of the state rated adequate, compared to 38 percent the previous week. Subsoil moisture conditions improved less dramatically with 57 percent still rated very short, down from 64 percent the previous week. There were only 4.3 days suitable for field work due to storms at the beginning of the week.

Small Grains: Limited amounts of wheat grazing were reported as conditions for wheat, rye, and canola continued to be rated mostly good to fair. Wheat planting reached 96 percent complete, and 86 percent had emerged by Sunday. Canola emerged reached 97 percent complete, seven points ahead of the previous year. Rye emerged had also reached 97 percent complete by week’s end. Seedbed preparation for oat ground was 76 percent complete, unchanged from the week prior. Oat planting reached 54 percent complete by the end of the week and 51 percent had emerged.

Row Crops: Harvest was still behind normal for the remaining row crops, though each had passed the halfway point for the season. Sorghum mature reached 96 percent complete and 59 percent was harvested by Sunday, nine points behind normal. Soybeans mature reached 91 percent complete by Sunday, and 61 percent of soybeans had been harvested, 12 points behind normal. Peanuts dug reached 88 percent complete and 75 percent of the peanuts had been combined by week’s end, 10 points behind the five-year average. The cotton harvest was 51 percent complete by week’s end.

Hay: Harvest progress continued to be significantly behind normal for hay. Third cuttings of alfalfa were 73 percent complete, and 20 percent of the state had completed a fourth cutting, compared to a five-year average of 100 percent. A second cutting of other hay was 59 percent complete by Sunday, 31 points behind normal.

Pasture and Livestock: Pasture and range conditions were rated mostly very poor, with slight improvements. Livestock conditions were rated 46 percent fair. Prices for feeder steers less than 800 pounds averaged $145 per cwt. Prices for heifers less than 800 pounds averaged $132 per cwt.

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