Bloomberg News

Oklahoma Wheat Output Seen Falling 45% After Drought, Freeze

May 01, 2013

Wheat output in Oklahoma, the second- biggest U.S. grower of winter varieties, may tumble 45 percent this year because of drought and freeze damage, said Debbie Wedel, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Wheat Commission.

Production may drop to 85.5 million bushels from 154.8 million a year earlier, Wedel said today in an interview in Buffalo, Oklahoma, as part of a three-day tour of fields in Kansas and Oklahoma by analysts, farmers and grain traders.

“Normal yields in the Oklahoma panhandle are 25 to 30 bushels an acre,” she said. “Farmers would be happy to get that this year. This is not a good year.”

Yields in southwest Kansas and northwest Oklahoma were estimated at 24.8 bushel an acre today, and crops are about three to four weeks behind normal growth, a survey of 17 fields on the second day of the tour showed. A year earlier, the average was 32.4 bushel in southwest Kansas, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

“It’s as bad or worse than last year,” Mark Hodges of Plains Grains Inc., a tour participant, said in an interview. Plants that are behind normal growth stages will be developing in hot weather in four to six weeks, he said.

Temperatures for the first 18 days of April in the area were the coldest since record keeping began in 1895, according to Mary Knapp, a state climatologist.

Yesterday, the yield in central Kansas was projected at 43.8 bushels after a survey of 277 fields. Last year, the average yield was 44 bushel in that district and 44.5 bushels in the north-central area.

About 75 growers, traders and analysts are touring the state, the top grower of winter varieties, and Oklahoma.

Wheat futures for July delivery fell 0.9 percent to close at $7.8225 today on the Kansas City Board of Trade. The price has dropped 5.9 percent this year, partly on speculation that global grain production will increase.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tony C. Dreibus in London at tdreibus@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net


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