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green shoots of wheat spring from the soil as the sun begins to set in Stillwater
Recent rains signal a change in weather patterns after producers have planted wheat in dry conditions for the past two years. (Photo by Mitchell Alcala, OSU Agriculture)

Wheat planting continues amid welcome rains

Friday, November 3, 2023

Media Contact: Gail Ellis | Editorial Communications Coordinator | 405-744-9152 |

Oklahoma State University Extension wheat specialists say the slow, soaking rain that fell across parts of the state last week is just what the 2024 wheat crop needed.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports about 75% of next year’s wheat has now been planted. Amanda Silva, OSU Extension small grains specialist, said OSU’s wheat fields are 50% emerged, most within seven days of planting.

“Our forage trial we planted a little over a month ago is looking good and growing well,” she said. “This moisture is going to sustain the forage and increase our prospects for grazing this fall.”

Producers statewide face a range of scenarios based on rainfall amounts during the past couple of months. Silva said some decided to plant their wheat earlier than usual to take advantage of available moisture in the soil. Other producers continue to face very dry conditions and haven’t started planting yet.

Craig Regier of Regier Farms near Deer Creek, Oklahoma, had planted about 65% of his wheat before it started raining a couple of weeks ago. Although he plants a small amount of dual-purpose wheat, most of it is primarily for a grain-only production system.

“A lot of our wheat goes in behind summer crops, so the rain put us behind a little bit, but for the most part, all of our summer fallow ground has been planted,” he said.

The remainder of Regier’s wheat will follow cotton if conditions allow.

“Some of the ground may get switched to an additional crop next spring if we continue to stay wet and can’t get in the fields in a timely manner,” he said.

Regier said his area has received anywhere from 1 1/2 to 3 inches of rain within the past two weeks. Comparing his current situation to the past few years of drought, he reported there are some similarities with wheat that was planted in dry soil, but overall, this fall is an improvement.

“We have a little more subsoil moisture and were able to get the stands up,” Regier said. “We’ve got better conditions going into winter, and it’s good to have a little more optimism with the changing weather pattern.”

Watch Silva discuss the status of wheat planting in Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma Mesonet explain a shift in temperatures and rainfall on “SUNUP,” the television show of OSU Agriculture.

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