Bumper Crop Expected For Oklahoma Harvest

Friday, June 1st 2012, 5:58 pm
By: Craig Day

Oklahoma's wheat harvest is starting early and is expected to be much, much better than last year.

It's one of the earliest harvests anyone has seen, following one of the worst years in memory.

Like many Oklahoma wheat farmers, Derrick Jackson is already behind the wheel of a combine.

Harvest time has come earlier than usual.

"One of those rare years where both fall and spring are pretty much what you want. What you ask for anyway," wheat farmer Derrick Jackson said.

Oklahoma's strange spring, with warm and dry conditions, caused wheat to ripen early this year.

It's one of the earliest harvest times anyone can remember.

"That allowed this crop to basically move a lot quicker than normal, it has matured earlier and we are harvesting two to three weeks easily ahead of normal," Ron Hays of the Radio Oklahoma Network said.

Not only is the harvest early, but production is expected to be the best in a decade.

"One of the best ones we've had in a long time," Jackson said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts 154.8 million bushels for Oklahoma this year.

That's 30 million bushels more than usual.

This year's wheat harvest in Oklahoma is expected to be more than double what it was last year, which was one of the worst years Oklahoma has had for wheat production since the 1950s.

The weather was brutally hot and dry last year.

This year, it's a different story.

"It's a lot thicker," Jackson said. "It a lot thicker stands."

Ron Hays is the Director of Farm Programming for the Radio Oklahoma Network.

"As we planted the crop, we were hoping for rain," Hays said. "We got rain fairly quickly after that, and it was really on a timely basis and we continued to get rain through the winter months."

And this year's winter temperatures and weather were much milder than normal.

For Oklahoma farmers, it adds up to more wheat and fewer worries this year.

"I'm very pleased this year," Jackson said. "Like always, you just wish you had more acres of it."