September rains teased folks in big sections of winter-wheat country into hoping for some decent pasture this fall. The dry spigot since says that may not be the case, just like last year.
Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University livestock economist, summed up the situation in his weekly market comments last week:
"As of Oct. 2, 51% of Oklahoma wheat has been planted, 10% below the five-year average for this date. More critically, only 22% of Oklahoma wheat has emerged, 11% less than the five-year average of 33% emerged on this date. The wheat that has emerged is extremely vulnerable to continued dry conditions.
"There are reports that some small wheat has blown out with recent winds and will have to be replanted. Emerged wheat needs moisture very soon to avoid losing the young stands. In other cases, dry-planted wheat is still waiting for moisture to germinate. In still other cases, the locally heavy September rains washed out some dry-planted wheat that has or will be replanted. All of this confirms that fall wheat forage production for grazing will be minimal (in Oklahoma)."
Further, Peel says there's some indication a growing number of the state's wheat producers who typically plant wheat for pasture, then harvest a grain crop, too, are raising the white flag on pasture.
"By not trying for fall-forage growth, producers are in less of a hurry to plant and will adjust seeding rates and fertilizer applications to wheat for grain-only enterprise. Especially under current dry conditions, it makes sense to reduce fall fertilization and wait to top dress in the spring if conditions improve to increase grain yield potential," Peel says.
Go to www.agecon.okstate.edu/livestock/comments.asp for Peel's complete comments.