That’s way off from the 450,000 acres planted in 2010 and 300,000 acres a year later. And many acres of that will be destroyed for crop insurance.

Recently planted winter canola is beginning to show up in fields in Tillman County and across the wheat-belt of the state. Canola crop experts like Gene Neuens, who works for the Producers Cooperative Oil Mill in Oklahoma City, expects a record 400, 000 to 500,000 acres to be planted this fall.

Others, like Ron Sholar, executive director of the Oklahoma Oilseed Commission, are more conservative in their estimates.

"There may be more, but I expect around 300,000 acres to be planted this year," Sholar said. A final, accurate figure should be available before October ends, he said.

Most of Oklahoma benefited from a cool, fairly wet summer, the first in three years of severe drought, but September ended with an extended dry spell which lowered expectations for an early winter wheat crop to help farmers graze calves on wheat for an important extra source of income.

Oklahoma State University Extension wheat specialist Jeff Edwards estimates 50 percent of the winter wheat crop has been planted. A dry September prevented wheat farmers from planting more early, he said.

"'The lateness of the crop may affect the availability of wheat pasture this year," he said. "We really didn't have the moisture we needed in the top 4 to 6 inches to get that crop out of the ground. We didn't have all that much wheat to in the ground that month so I don't know how much wheat pasture we are going to have this year.

"It is looking like wheat pasture could be pretty tight if we have anything close to a normal fall or winter when it cools."

A few pockets of wheat country did receive ample rain and may have a good chance for wheat pasture, he said.

"One good area may be near Okarche,” he said. “Jackson and Tillman counties, which normally have a lot of wheat pasture, are still dry and their prospects are minimal."