Oklahoma: Warm Temperatures Encourage Growth
Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending March 18, 2012
Spring-like temperatures were felt throughout the state with average temperatures in the 60s and average highs in the upper 70s. The overall high temperature for every climate district was above 80 degrees, with a statewide high of 89 degrees recorded at Beaver in the Panhandle. Multiple temperature records were broken, including the highest minimum temperature for Oklahoma City every day from March 14-17 as well as multiple days in Tulsa and a record high temperature for March 13th in Ponca City at 84 degrees. The above average temperatures over several weeks meant rapid growth for small grains and some recovery in pasture and range conditions. Wheat jointing and canola blooming were significantly ahead of the previous year.
Very little precipitation was measured this week, averaging only a hundredth of an inch for the entire state. In the East Central District, no Mesonet station recorded measurable rainfall for the week. The highest recorded total was 0.18 of an inch in Arnett, which fell Sunday. This was the beginning of a storm system which brought rain into the next week, but also produced several small tornadoes in Greer County. Spring fieldwork was ahead of normal for most crops, but further preparations and planting were on hold as producers await more rainfall. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated mostly adequate with 33 percent rated short to very short. Subsoil moisture continued to be rated mostly adequate to short. There were only 5.5 days suitable for field work.
Small Grains: Development of all small grains and canola were ahead of normal, aided by the abnormally warm temperatures. Conditions continued to be rated mostly good, with 14 percent of wheat and 9 percent of canola rated excellent, respectively. Wheat jointing was 53 percent complete by Sunday, 17 points ahead of last year, and 22 points ahead of the five-year average. Canola blooming was 26 percent complete by week’s end, well ahead of last year. Rye jointing was 67 percent complete, 23 points ahead of normal. Oat planting was near completion with 91 percent complete by the end of the week. Sixty percent of all oats had emerged, and nine percent was jointing by Sunday.
Row Crops: Preparation for spring planting continued where soil moisture allowed, and more progress is expected after the forecasted rains. Corn seedbed preparation was 54 percent complete by the end of the week, 10 points ahead of normal, and corn planting began in limited areas. Sorghum seedbed preparation was 29 percent complete, 12 points ahead of the five-year average. Preparation of soybean seedbeds was 23 percent complete by Sunday. Peanut seedbed preparation was 18 percent complete, eight points behind normal, while cotton seedbed preparation was 43 percent complete, 15 points ahead of the five-year average.
Pasture and Livestock: Conditions of pasture and range improved and were rated mostly fair to poor. Pastures were beginning to recover due to rains in previous weeks, and the spring-like temperatures fostered new growth. However, just over a quarter of the state’s grazing land was still rated in very poor condition. Livestock conditions continued to be rated mostly good to fair. The cattle market continued to be strong. Prices for feeder steers less that 800 pounds averaged $165 per cwt. Prices for heifers less than 800 pounds averaged $150 per cwt.