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Oklahoma Wheat Harvest Completed for the Most Part with the State 99% Finished – Harvest Report June 29, 2020

Courtesy Oklahoma Wheat Commission

Wheat harvest is now complete in most regions of the state, with a few combines finishing up in parts of the Panhandle as well as Northern Oklahoma. This has been one of the fastest wheat harvest that we have seen in some time. The weather in all regions was favorable once machines started rolling in Southwest Oklahoma and allowed progress to move extremely fast from border to border. The Oklahoma Wheat Commission is calling wheat harvest 99% finished and this will be the final harvest report for the 2020 season. Test weight averages across the state have been extremely favorable in all regions, with most of the crop coming in at 61 lbs. to 64 lbs. per bushel.

Yields in Southwest and South Central Oklahoma varied with much of the wheat having low yields (ranging from the mid teens to high 20’s) due to excessive freeze damage that took place on April 15th. Yields were much better in central Oklahoma, with several reports in the mid 40’s to high 50’s. Yields in North Central and Northwest Oklahoma continue to range from the mid 40 to mid-60 bushels per acre depending on variety and location. In the Panhandle regions, irrigated wheat harvest continues. Yields on irrigated wheat in the central to the western regions of the Panhandle have not been as favorable as years past with a lot of irrigated wheat making 50 to 75 bushels per acre, with an occasional report of 100 bushels per acre or slightly higher. Test weights in the Panhandle continue steady at 60 lbs. to 62 lbs. per bushel. In some areas on the earlier harvested dryland wheat, test weights were a bit lower at 58 lbs. per bushel. Proteins across the state for this 2020 harvest have ranged from 8% to as high as 15.5%. The state average for protein is being reported between 11% to 11.2%.

This will be the last harvest report conducted by the Oklahoma Wheat Commission for the 2020 harvest season.

Oklahoma Wheat Harvest Moves Ahead but is Hindered by Rain in Most Regions Over the Weekend – Harvest Report June 22, 2020

Courtesy Oklahoma Wheat Commission

What is left of Oklahoma wheat harvest has been at a standstill in most places since Thursday night due to rain showers in the North Central and Northwest regions of Oklahoma. Rains have come thru off and on in all these areas the past 5 days, with the exceptions of Northeast Oklahoma in the Afton and Miami regions. Although they received light showers in parts of Northeast Oklahoma early this morning, producers were able to harvest in the Afton and Miami areas over the weekend.  Many of the acres in this region have gone into soybeans and other summer crops, so wheat harvest started and was finished over a period of 3 days. Combines were also slowed in all regions of the Panhandle over the weekend due to light rains on Friday night, but combines are back rolling in the Central Panhandle and Western Panhandle regions today.  Rains in the Eastern region of the Panhandle were heavier and producers will be at a standstill, although much of the wheat is already cut in this area.  Irrigated wheat in the central Panhandle around the Texhoma, Guymon and Hooker regions is ranging from the 60 bushels per acre to 90 bushels per acre depending on planting date, variety and location. Some higher yields have been reported with intensive management, but the severe drought and late freezes seem to have had an impact on both the dryland and irrigated crops. Dryland wheat harvest has finished in that area and with yields not too favorable making in the mid teens to mid 20’s. Proteins in the region from 11.9% to 14.9%.  Test weights on all wheat even with lower yields is still favorable ranging from 60 lbs. to 64 lbs. per bushel.  The Oklahoma Wheat Commission is calling Oklahoma Wheat Harvest 95% completed.

Panhandle

Texhoma/Guymon/Hooker – Much of the dryland wheat in this area has been utilized for other purposes due to the extreme drought conditions. Yields on irrigated wheat are reported at 60 bushels to 90 bushels per acre. Some higher yields over 100 have been reported on fields with intensive management practices.  Test weights are ranging from 61 lbs. to 66 lbs. per bushel. Proteins are ranging from 12% to 14.5%.  Harvest in this area is approximately 80% complete.

Boise CityHarvest is 60% complete.  Producers in this area were hindered from getting in the fields over the weekend due to rain, but combines are moving today.  For the most part, test weights on all wheat are favorable coming in at 60 lbs. to 63 lbs. per bushel. Protein is ranging from 11.0% to 14.9%. Yields on the dryland have been making in the mid teens to mid  20’s. Irrigated wheat is ranging from 50 bushels to 75 bushels per acre.

Northeast Oklahoma

Afton and Miami- Harvest is 99% complete.  Harvest started last Wednesday and producers in this region were able to get everything harvested over a 3 to 4 day period, before rains came into the region early Monday morning. Yields ranged from 20 to 40 bushels per acre and were much lower due to excessive moisture and late freezes.  Few wheat acres were harvested in this region due to producers putting a majority of acres into summer crops. Test weights were extremely favorable ranging from 61 lbs. to 62 lbs. per bushel even on the Soft Red Winter wheat that was harvested.  Soft Red Winter wheat test weights are usually much lighter but this year they managed to come in just as high as the Hard Red Winter wheat acres.  No proteins were reported. 

The next harvest report by the Oklahoma Wheat Commission will be published Wednesday, June 24, 2020.

Wheat Disease Update – 17 June 2020

This article was written by Dr. Bob Hunger, Extension Wheat Pathologist

I thought my 5-June update would be my last, but two samples/reports have come in that are prompting another update.  One of these reports was wheat kernels with darkened-colored germ ends with the dark discoloration moving toward the middle of the seed and into the crease.  This is indicative of black point (Figure 1; photo on the left), which is a discoloration of the seed (typically the germ end of the seed) resulting from either infection by a number of different fungi that typically are saprophytes (living on dead tissue) but can occasionally parasitize living tissue, or from a combination of abiotic (environmental) conditions that promote the discoloration without the presence of an organism.  Often black point occurs when freeze damage has occurred, or harvest was delayed and dead tissue in the heads has been heavily colonized by fungi that cause sooty mold (Figure 1; photo on the right).  Black point in wheat grain can be a grading factor as the discoloration can result in black flecks in flour milled from such grain.  Additionally, if used as seed wheat, kernels with black point can have reduce germination resulting in a lower seedling emergence.  Hence, if wheat showing black point is to be used as seed wheat, it is imperative to check the germination of that seed and to use a seed treatment that controls seed and seedling rots.

Figure 1. Wheat kernels with black point (photo on the left; note the pinkish color on the two outer wheat kernels, which is a seed treatment that had been applied), and sooty mold on a mature wheat head (photo on the right; photo credit – Dr. Erick DeWolf; Kansas State University)

 A second notable occurrence has been the report of wheat infested with common bunt/stinking smut.  This disease should not be confused with loose smut.  Loose smut is readily identified in the field as wheat is heading, and is characterized by heads with loose black spores (Figure 2; photo on the left).  There is a big difference between loose smut and common bunt/stinking smut.  Wind moves spores of the loose smut fungus to healthy wheat heads where they infect the developing seed at about the same time that flowering occurs.  Hence, the loose smut fungus is inside of that seed.  If the wheat is sold for flour there is no problem.  However, if that infected seed is used as seed wheat the next fall, then the loose smut fungus will grow within the seedling and plant that emerges from that infected seed.  Then at heading, instead of a normal head emerging a head filled with the black, loose smut spores emerges.  In contrast to loose smut, common bunt/stinking smut produces ‘bunt balls’ in wheat heads (Figure 2; middle photo and photo to the right), which break and spread spores onto healthy wheat kernels as well as into the soil in the field.  Hence, spores of the common bunt fungus survive on wheat kernels or in the soil and not inside of seed as is the case with loose smut.  In the fall when wheat germinates, the common bunt spores also germinate and infect the young seedling.  The fungus then grows with the plant, and as heading occurs and the wheat senesces, bunt balls are formed rather than wheat kernels.  Another difference between these two smuts is that no odor is associated with loose smut, whereas a strong musty/fishy odor is associated with common bunt, especially if there is a bad infestation.

Figure 2. Loose smut (left photo); common bunt/stinking smut bunt balls in a mature wheat head (middle photo; photo credit; Dr. Bill Bockus; Kansas State University); bunt balls of common bunt/stinking smut compared to healthy wheat kernels (right photo).

Recently I have received reports and a sample of wheat grain heavily infested with common bunt/stinking smut.  The wheat kernels appear to have blackened tips (Figure 3; top left and top right photos), but in contrast to black tip (Figure 1) where the germ end is darkened, in this case the brush end of the seed is darkened.  This blackening of the brush end is caused by thousands of common bunt/stinking smut spores being trapped in the brush (Figure 3; bottom photo).  I am bringing this to your attention because although both loose smut and common bunt/stinking smut can create significant problems, both are readily controlled by the use of an appropriate seed treatment.  Many such treatments are available.  Some are for insects, some are for bunts and smuts, some are for root rots, and many are for a combination of wheat insect pests and wheat diseases.  A good starting point as a guide for an appropriate seed treatment is the table on pages 262-263 in the 2020 OSU Extension Agents’ Handbook of Insect, Plant Disease, and Weed Control (OCES publication E-832) where many (but not all) of the more common seed treatments are listed.  It may not be necessary to plant treated wheat seed every year to manage loose smut and common bunt/stinking smut, but it is much better to manage them preventatively rather than wait until there is a severe outbreak of either one in a field.

Figure 3. Healthy wheat kernels covered with spores of the common bunt/stinking smut fungus (top two photos). Note the dark color at the top (brush end) of the kernels, which is due to the trapping of thousands of spores in the brush of the wheat kernel (bottom photo).

Oklahoma Wheat Harvest Moves Quickly Northward – Harvest report June 15, 2020

Courtesy Oklahoma Wheat Commission

Oklahoma wheat harvest continues to move forward with great progress being made in the Southwest, Central and Northern regions of the state.  Harvest is wrapped up in Southwest and South Central Oklahoma for the most part. Parts of North Central Oklahoma are also reporting to be 95 to 99% completed, with areas of Northern and Northwest Oklahoma 50% to 80% completed depending on location.  In Northeast Oklahoma at Afton and Miami, producers are just getting into the fields. In the Panhandle region, producers continue working on dryland harvest, with the hopes they will start with irrigated wheat towards the middle or the end of the week. Test weights across the state are being reported as extremely positive with averages for all regions ranging from 61 lbs. to 64 lbs. per bushel. Yields in Southwest Oklahoma varied all over the board from 15 bushels to 30 bushels per acre with a few higher yields noted.  In parts of South Central Oklahoma around Apache and Hinton, the yields have been reported to be better. In some areas around Apache, yields were reported in the mid 40’s to mid 50’s depending on variety and field location.  Yield trends have been higher in Central, Northern and most parts of Northwest Oklahoma.  A lot of wheat ranging from the mid 40’s to mid 50’s and several yields reported in the mid 60’s also have been reported.  In Northeast Oklahoma as harvest begins, no yields have been reported but it looks like the test weights are going to remain strong with yields lower due to severe freeze damage.  In the Panhandle region, decent yields are being reported on dryland wheat in the Eastern region of the Panhandle, with higher yields in the mid 40’s being reported around Buffalo. Dryland wheat in Texas county especially the southern and western portions of Texas County and in Cimarron county has had lower yields reported in the mid-teens to mid-20’s with some higher yields reported in the mid 30’s in the Northern and Eastern regions.  A lot of the dryland wheat will not be harvested due to insurance claims being made in those Southern and Western regions of the Texas and Cimarron counties in the Panhandle due to drought. Proteins across the state are ranging from 8.0% to as high as 15.5%.  It is to early for a statewide assessment, but indications are showing we might be looking at a number somewhere in the range of 10.5% to 11.2% for a statewide average.  The Oklahoma Wheat Commission is calling Oklahoma Wheat Harvest 62% completed.  This will be the last harvest report that will cover Southwest, South Central and Central Oklahoma regions since harvest has wrapped up in these areas.

Grandfield/Chattanooga-Harvest in this region is 99 percent complete.   Yield reports are ranging from 5 to 25 bushels per acre. In some parts of the Grandfield region, some of the later planted wheat is doing much better with some reporting yields in the mid 40’s, although that is still very rare.  Test weights have ranged from 58 lbs. to 62 lbs. per bushel, with the average running at 61 lbs. per bushel.  Even though much of the wheat has been put up for hay, some of the later planted wheat with higher yields are going to make the overall grain being hauled in better than what was previously predicted.  At the beginning of harvest, the Grandfield location was hoping to take in 1/3 of the wheat that would normally be harvested, but that number has now changed to 1/2.  Proteins ranging from 9% to 13%, with hopes of an 11.5% average. 

Altus/ Hobart/Lone Wolf/GoteboHarvest is 99% completed.  Yields are ranging anywhere from 15 to 40 bushels per acre, with more being towards the lower numbers. Some of the later planted wheat is doing better, with an occasional 50 bushels per acre. The test weight average is reported at 61 lbs. per bushel for this entire area. The protein average is currently at 11.5%.

ApacheHarvest is 95% completed. Test weights for the Apache location will average 62 lbs. to 63 lbs. per bushel. Yields in this area for the most part have been from the mid 40’s to the mid 50’s, with some lower yields on lower lying fields due to severe freeze damage.  No proteins were reported.

Sentinel/RockyHarvest has progressed and is 99% complete.  At both locations, yields are being reported in the low 20’s to mid 30’s. The severe drought, late freeze and heavy hail damage have really impacted what will be harvested. A lot of wheat has already been put up for hay. Test weights are ranging from 60 lbs. to 62 lbs. per bushel. No proteins were reported.

Okarche/Reeding/Kingfisher/OmegaThis region has progressed greatly over the weekend and is 98% harvested. Yields have been in the upper 30’s to mid 60’s. Test weights have been positive ranging from 62 lbs. to 66 lbs. per bushel.  Proteins are ranging from 9% to 12%, depending on variety and location.

Greenfield- Test weights on the wheat ranging from 63 lbs. to 66 lbs. per bushel. The lowest yield reported at this location was 36 bushels per acre. Several fields are making in the high 40’s to mid 60’s, depending on variety and planting date. Proteins have ranged from 9% to 13%.  This region is 99 percent completed.

Goltry/Helena- Harvest has progressed fast over the weekend. This region is estimated to be 65% to 70% completed with harvest.  Test weights have remained steady with the area reporting a 64 lbs. to 65 lbs. per bushel average.  Yields have been from the high 30’s to the mid 60’s, with many reports making in the mid 40’s to mid 50’s.  No proteins have been reported as of this date.

Kremlin/ Pond Creek/ Medford/ Blackwell- The south end of this region is reported 75% complete and the North end is reported to be 50% finished.  The yields for the most part are falling in the mid 40’s to mid 60’s. Test weights are averaging 64 lbs. per bushel for the region. Proteins are ranging from 9% to as high as 15%. 

Alva/ Buffalo– Harvest in Alva is 90% complete and in Buffalo is 50% finished. Test weights are exceptional, being reported in ranges of 63 lbs. to 67 lbs. per bushel.  Proteins are ranging from 9% to 11.5%.  Yields around Alva are being reported in the mid 40’s to mid 60’s.  In Buffalo yields are being reported in the mid 40’s, with some in the low 50’s.

Panhandle

Hooker– Harvest continues with the dryland wheat.  Yields on the dryland range anywhere from 15 to 25 bushels per acre and in some parts the occasional 30 is being reported. Irrigated wheat harvest will hopefully be ready by the end of the week. The irrigated wheat in the region does look favorable and producers are hopeful for decent irrigated yields. Test weights are ranging from 61 lbs. to 63 lbs. per bushel.  Proteins are ranging from 10% to 13%.

Northeast Oklahoma

Afton and Miami- Harvest is just getting started in this region as of today.  Early test weights have been favorable coming in at 61 lbs. to 63 lbs. per bushel.  No reports on yields have been made, but much of the wheat is expected to yield lower, due to severe freeze damage.   No protein was reported.

The next harvest report by the Oklahoma Wheat Commission will be published Wednesday, June 17, 2020.

Oklahoma Wheat Harvest Rolling from Border to Border

Courtesy Oklahoma Wheat Commission

Oklahoma wheat harvest continues to move forward with great progress being made in the Southwest and Central regions of the state. Parts of South Central Oklahoma have been moving slower due to the grain being ready but greener straw.  Producers have been getting a good start in other parts of North Central and Northwest Oklahoma, but in some areas around Helena and Goltry, farmers have been dealing with greener and tougher straw that is still not ready to cut, even though the grain is ready.   Producers have also had to contend with extremely high winds yesterday and today which was making it difficult for cutting, also with major concerns for fire.  In some places, elevators stopped taking grain because fire danger was too high, and local communities had concerns rural fire departments would not be able to keep up if large fires got started. We did see an increase on fires reported yesterday in all regions of the central and western parts of the state. Test weights continue to be phenomenal across the state with some areas in Northwest Oklahoma reporting averages at 64 lbs. to 65 lbs. per bushel.  Yields being reported in central and northern regions of the state are trending higher, with several reports of most fields at least making in the mid 40’s, with a large amount of reports of many fields making in the mid 50’s to mid 60’s, depending on variety, planting date and production practices.  Proteins across the state are ranging across the board from 8.5% to as high as 15.5%.  It is to early for a statewide assessment, but indications are showing we might be looking at a number somewhere in the range of 10.8% to 11.2% for a statewide average. 

Grandfield/Chattanooga-Harvest has been moving along at a fast pace.   Yield reports are ranging from 5 to 25 bushels per acre. In some parts of the Grandfield region, some of the later planted wheat is doing much better with some reporting yields in the mid 40’s, although that is still very rare.  Test weights have ranged from 58 lbs. to 62 lbs. per bushel, with the average running at 61 lbs. per bushel.  Even though much of the wheat has been put up for hay, some of the later planted wheat with higher yields are going to make the overall grain being hauled in better than what was previously predicted.  At the beginning of harvest the Grandfield location was hoping to take in 1/3 of the wheat that would normally be harvested, but that number has now changed to 1/2.  Proteins are reported to be all over the board ranging from 9% to 13%, with hopes of an 11.5% average.  This region is 92% completed with harvest.

Altus/Hobart/Lone Wolf/Gotebo– Harvest is 75% completed in this region.  Yields are ranging anywhere from 15 to 40 bushels per acre, with more being reported towards the lower numbers. Some of the later planted wheat is doing better, with some reports of an occasional 50 bushels per acre. The test weight average is reported at 61 lbs. per bushel for this entire area. The protein average is reported currently at 11.5%.

Sentinel/RockyHarvest has really progressed over the weekend with 80% of the area completed. At both locations, yields are being reported in the low 20’s to mid 30’s. The severe drought, late freeze and heavy hail damage have really impacted what will be harvested. A lot of wheat has already been put up for hay.  Test weights are ranging from 60 lbs. to 62 lbs. per bushel.  No proteins were reported.

Okarche/Piedmont/Kingfisher/HennesseyThis region has progressed greatly over the weekend and is 80% harvested. Yields have been reported in the upper 30’s to mid 60’s. Test weights have been positive with reports ranging from 62 lbs. to 66 lbs. per bushel.  Proteins are ranging from 9% to 12%, depending on variety and location.

Greenfield- Test weights on the wheat are reported to be ranging from 63 lbs. to 66 lbs. per bushel. The lowest yield reported at this location was 36 bushels per acre. Reports of several fields are making in the high 40’s to mid 60’s, depending on variety and planting date. One 40 acre patch was reported to have made 84 bushels per acre. Proteins have ranged from 9% to 13%.  This region is 65% to 70% completed with harvest.

Goltry/Helena- Some producers cut a couple of the heavier grazed fields earlier this week. Test weights on the earlier cuttings are ranging from 63 lbs. to 65lbs. per bushel with a couple 66 lbs. per bushel being reported.  One field was reported in the mid 40’s.  Producers have now been dealing with greener straw on the better wheat and it has been slowing them down from being able to get into the fields. Farmers were hopeful to get into the fields this afternoon with better chances of drier straw so things can get rolling. Much of the wheat currently looks favorable in this region with predictions of many fields making in the high 40’s to mid 60’s.  No proteins have been reported as of this date.

Kremlin/Pond Creek/Medford/Blackwell- The south end of this region has kicked off with harvest being in full swing.  Producers in the Northern areas are just getting a good start.  The yields being reported for the most part are falling in the mid 40’s to mid 60’s.  Test weights are averaging 62 lbs. to 63 lbs. per bushel. Proteins are ranging all over the board from 9% to as high as 15%, and it is too early for averages to be reported. Overall this region is 20% harvested.

Burlington- Producers have been cutting in Burlington over the weekend.  Test weights are ranging from 62 lbs. to 63 lbs. per bushel on average.  Some yields have been reported in the mid 50’s to mid 60’s. One small 80 acre patch was reported to have made 90 bushels per acre on dryland wheat.  Proteins are ranging from 9% to 13%.  This area is considered to be 15% harvested.

Alva/Buffalo– Harvest is just getting started around Alva with four or five producers cutting. Test weights are exceptional, being reported in ranges of 63 lbs. to 67 lbs. per bushel. Only one yield for the region has been reported coming in at 63 bushels per acre.  Proteins are ranging from 9% to 11.5%.  Harvest has not really begun in the Buffalo area, but they are hopeful grain will start being harvested in this area over the weekend.  While nothing has been reported in the Buffalo area, in the Eastern part of the Panhandle much of the wheat currently looks favorable.

Hooker– Harvest continues with the dryland wheat. Yields on the dryland are being reported anywhere from 15 to 25 bushels per acre. Irrigated wheat harvest will hopefully be ready sometime the beginning or middle of next week. The irrigated wheat in the region does look favorable and producers are hopeful for decent irrigated yields. Test weights are ranging from 61 lbs. to 63 lbs. per bushel.  Proteins are ranging all over the board from 10% to 13%.

The next harvest report by the Oklahoma Wheat Commission will be published Monday, June 15, 2020.

Wheat Disease Update – 4 June 2020

This article was written by Bob Hunger, Extension Wheat Pathologist

This likely is the last disease update from Oklahoma until preparation starts for planting in the late summer.  Harvest is definitely underway across central and southern/southwestern OK, and Josh Bushong (Area Extn Agron Spclst – northwestern and northeastern OK) indicated wheat is quickly turning across northern OK as well.  Dry conditions in northwestern OK and the OK panhandle have limited diseases in those parts of OK, and with wheat quickly turning, diseases should not be a factor from here on.  The one exception to this would be if head scab was occurring at a high incidence, but to date I have had only one report of just light scab in the northeastern part of Oklahoma.

One report of interest that has come is the occurrence of dark brownish/black to dark bronze-colored heads in mature wheat (Figure 1).  Although at a low incidence (Figure 1, left photo) these heads are noticeable and have been observed across multiple varieties by Gary Strickland (Extn Educator; Jackson Cnty; southwestern OK), Dr. Amanda de Oliveira Silva (Ast Professor & Small Grains Extension Agronomist) and Dr. Brett Carver (Regent’s Professor/OSU Wheat Geneticist & Breeder), and myself.  These heads, which typically are sterile or only have small and shriveled grain, seem to be most common in areas where freeze was most damaging, and likely are related to that environmental cause (i.e., freeze).

Figure 1.  Darkened heads at low incidence in mature wheat in a field in southwestern OK.  Cause likely is environmental; most likely related to freeze. [photo credit: Gary Strickland; Extn Educator; Jackson Cnty]

I also want to follow-up on the widespread occurrence of splotchy browning and spotting of wheat leaves that was observed across many varieties over Oklahoma this year.  I collected and plated numerous leaves from such plants, and the best I can determine is that much of this browning was caused by Septoria leaf blotch (and to a lesser extent, tan spot).  Freeze and drought also likely contributed in some cases.  Figure 2 shows my reasoning for this.  The first four photos are examples of the splotchy browning and spotting of leaves. Some leaves would be almost entirely brown/necrotic. Upon plating and incubating these leaves, I often would not find any pathogens after two days in alternating light dark, which is needed to induce sporulation of the tan spot fungus. However, if I kept these leaves for a longer time (6-10 days), I often would find a high incidence of pycnidia indicative of Septoria leaf blotch forming over the leaves (bottom photo in Figure 2). Oozing from these pycnidia contained spores of the fungus that causes Septoria leaf blotch.  Occasionally I also would find sporulation of the fungus that causes tan spot as well as the fungus that causes spot blotch.  Also mixed in and often overgrown were many secondary, non-pathogenic fungi that are taking the opportunity to grow on the dead leaf tissue.  As a result, I am attributing the widespread leaf browning observed this year to be primarily the result of Septoria leaf blotch.

Figure 2. Various “types” and “degrees” of leaf browning/yellowing/spotting observed on wheat across northern Oklahoma during mid to late May.