By Don Stotts
Recent rains and cooler weather have a number of analysts predicting an Oklahoma wheat crop of approximately 108 million bushels, which sounds right to Jeff Edwards, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension small grains specialist, provided temperatures continue to stay 85 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
“We need another week to 10 days of this weather to really allow the wheat crop to reach its full potential,” he said, “and then we will need drier weather by the end of May and into June to allow combines to harvest the bushels. If everything breaks right, we could exceed 110 million bushels.”
While Oklahoma’s wheat crop has found 2015 to its liking, so unfortunately have foliar diseases for much of the growing season. “Oklahoma had a heck of an outbreak of stripe rust this year,” said Bob Hunger, OSU Cooperative Extension wheat pathologist, “and now leaf rust is starting to appear in susceptible varieties, which is something to watch out for as temperatures warm up.”
OSU-developed wheat varieties that have held up well to stripe rust this year are Gallagher and, to a lesser extent, Iba. As for other varieties, wheat growers who did not use a fungicide and who planted a susceptible variety to stripe rust or leaf rust are likely to pay with a reduced yield come harvest.