May 6, 2022
Rains in Oklahoma state, US too late to help smallest wheat crop since 2014
Mike Schulte, executive director of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission, said rains have come too late to help the winter wheat in Oklahoma state, US, the second biggest producer of the grain in the country, resulting in farmers harvesting the smallest crop since 2014, Reuters reported.
The crop shortage in Oklahoma adds to a bleak global wheat supply picture, as Russia's invasion into Ukraine shut down ports and pushed the Ukraine off the market.
Oklahoma's winter wheat crop is expected to be 57.05 million bushels, which is nearly half of last year's output and the lowest since 2014. The state's average winter wheat output is expected to be 23.5 bushels per acre, also the lowest since 2014.
According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), over 69% the U.S. crop was affected by drought as of May 3, including most key wheat fields in Oklahoma and top producer Kansas state.
Schulte said drought shrivelled Oklahoma wheat during the crop's important growth months of March and April, leaving sparse-looking plants with few tillers, or stems, especially in southwest Oklahoma and the Panhandle. He said in south- and north-central Oklahoma, a few locations are in good health.
Heavy rains expected this week might badly affect the state's wheat crop by knocking over older plants, making harvesting more difficult, or increasing the risk of disease for young seedlings.
Farmers are frustrated by the crop shortage, as K.C. hard red winter wheat futures are trading above US$11 a bushel for the first time since 2008.
Schulte said there is a misperception that their wheat farmers would perform very well this year due to strong commodity prices, but the reality is they don't get to benefit until they have a harvest to go to market.