Local area farmers are expressing concerns over what could be a “terrible” wheat harvest this year.
Layton Pinkston, a local wheat farmer, said his wheat is still standing upright, but will not be ready to harvest for at least another three weeks.
“It’s still greener than a gourd,” Pinkston said.
He usually begins cutting wheat to get ready to sell it around the first of June, however Pinkston estimated the wheat won’t be ready until the first of July at the earliest. He added that if rains or bad weather continue that his harvest may be pushed back even further.
“It’s just tough,” Pinkston said.
Another local farmer Karl Kozel is also experiencing some difficulty, though he estimates his wheat may be ready for harvest as early as next week.
While his harvest may be ready soon, Kozel is still concerned because of the damp conditions caused by the recent rain.
“It’s going to be a terrible harvest, looks like to me,” Kozel said.
About half of Kozel’s wheat is laying down, which can cause sprout damage. Sprout damage would significantly lower the value of the wheat, because most places won’t purchase it.
Additionally, Kozel’s other crop this year, milo, hasn’t even been planted yet because of the damp conditions.
“It’s just one of those years we have to go through,” he said. “I’ve seen them many times before.”
Some of the wheat that is laying flat will be salvageable, while some of it won’t be, Kozel said.
However, it’s impossible to tell how much will and won’t be salvageable until it is actually harvested.
“It’s just one of those years you do what you can do, and be grateful you have something to do,” Kozel said.
Chris Rice, plant and soil specialist with the Pottawatomie County OSU Extension, said wheat yield is expected to be down across the state.
The western part of Oklahoma did not receive the rain that brought the local area out of the drought, Rice said. The western area suffered from a lack of rain, as well as late freezes, which damaged crops.
Locally, Rice said he has seen a lot of downed wheat, which can cause sprout problems and is more difficult to pick up with machinery. However this area also has a lot of wheat standing up. As a result, the local area may see better yields than the western part of the state.
Page 2 of 2 - Rod Marrs, vice president of purchasing and elevator operations for Shawnee Milling Co., said his company has not yet received much wheat, so it’s difficult to say what is expected.
He said he had heard of low yields for the state, but “we’re just in a wait and see mode,” Marrs said.
“We’ll just have to take it as it comes,” he said.