Oklahoma Farmers Struggle Through Extreme Drought

Wednesday, April 6th 2011, 7:45 pm
By: News On 6

Jennifer Pierce, News 9

NEWCASTLE, Oklahoma -- Most of Oklahoma is dealing with drought-like conditions. We are in the worst drought the state has seen since the 1920's.

During a good crop season and this time of the year, the wheat should be about 18 inches tall. But one field we found was six inches or less, a total loss.

One wheat field we saw was more brown than green.

"Brown from a lack of rain," Roy Wilson said.

It's the worst drought Roy Wilson has seen in his 40 years of farming.

"Even if we get a rain now, this crop won't survive," he said.

He grows wheat to bail for hay; it feeds his cattle. He can usually get about 120 bales, but this year he says he will be lucky to get 10.

"I will have to look elsewhere for hay to feed my cattle," he said.

He can salvage what's left on one field by letting cattle graze. Down the road, even though it's waving in the wind, Roy's other crop is not what it should be.

"It ain't gonna be 100 percent, but it will probably be an 80 percent crop on it," he said.

He's not alone. Farmers all over the state are praying for rain to save what's left.

Instead of selling the wheat for food, most farmers will most likely make money by selling crops as hay and recoup their losses through crop insurance.

"We're gonna have to find something to supplement what we lost this year," he said.

Most likely, Oklahomans will see a spike in food prices because of the short wheat crop, but we won't know how high they will go until harvest time, which is in June.