As Southwest farmers begin or near wheat harvest, many, probably most, are looking at yield potential below average and some have already baled or abandoned significant acreage. Others may opt to plant a summer crop on failed acres.

There is some “decent wheat,” in parts of Oklahoma, says Jeff Edwards, Oklahoma State University Extension small grains specialist.

He says farmers have the potential to harvest “50 bushels or so per acre in the Enid area and along 81 down to Chickasha. I looked at some 70 plus bushels per acre wheat in Northeast Oklahoma, but there is not sufficient acreage in that part of the state to impact total bushels by much.”

And across much of the state, conditions are much worse.  “Many acres in the southwest and far western Okla. will be baled or abandoned due to the combination of drought and freeze,” Edwards said.

And other problems contribute to farmer woes. “We have had a lot of powdery mildew, septoria, tanspot, and stagonospora this year. We have not had much leaf or stripe rust and I don't think either will be a major issue in Oklahoma this year.

“Overall, I think we are on our way to a well below average year. (In mid- May) the temperatures are above 90 Fahrenheit and the winds are blowing. I looked at a lot of wheat recently with flag leaves rolled. Just a couple of weeks ago this same wheat was on its way to a nice grain fill.”