winter wheat

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma wheat growers are calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to implement a Farm Bill provision they say would address the ongoing drought that's plagued the state and others for the past several years.

The new provision allows farmers to maintain enough crop insurance to cover expected production in exchange for paying a higher premium to cover any additional liability. The provision will change how farmers make the estimate of their expected production.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma agriculture officials say ongoing drought during the start of spring followed by a late freeze and untimely late spring rains produced the worst wheat crop in nearly a half century.

Oklahoma Wheat Commission director Mike Schulte says the current projection is for about 51 million bushels of wheat in the state — the lowest total since 43 million bushels were harvested in 1957.

Schulte says the harvest is considered 97 percent complete as of Monday but says he knows of no farmers still trying to collect the crop.

Drought Hammers Winter Wheat Across The Plains

Jun 10, 2014
Farmer Jim Haarberg of Imperial, Nebraska compares the heads of wheat from two different stalks to demonstrate the stunting effects of drought.
Ariana Brocious / Harvest Public Media

Much of the Midwest and the Plains have been battling drought for years. And the current winter wheat crop looks like it will be one of the worst in recent memory, stressing farmers in the heart of the Wheat Belt – from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska.

In Nebraska, a full quarter of the winter wheat crop is rated poor to very poor, and Nebraska farmers are doing comparatively well. More than 40 percent of the wheat acres in Colorado are poor or worse; nearly 60 percent in Kansas and Texas; and an incredible 80 percent in Oklahoma.