Rain aids fall planting
Multiple rain events during the week ending Sept. 30 were welcomed during the fall planting season, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Oklahoma Field Office, Oct. 1.
Storms mid-week produced hail and high winds across much of the state. Rain continued to fall throughout the week, with generous totals accumulated in the central part of the state. The state averaged 1.72 inches for the week, and all but the North Central and Northeast districts averaged over an inch of rain. Every Mesonet site recorded measurable rainfall, and Byars recorded six inches of rain. Even with the rain from the last week, rainfall totals for the last month are below normal for all but the Panhandle and West Central districts. Overall the drought is still ongoing and significant rain is needed to overcome the dry conditions. Some run-off was received in central and south central Oklahoma, but many livestock ponds are still in desperate need of run-off.
The rainfall received was very beneficial for the ongoing small grain and canola planting, and will encourage more producers to plant in the coming weeks. Topsoil moisture conditions improved significantly from the previous week, with 42 percent rated adequate. Subsoil moisture conditions improved somewhat, with 89 percent of the state rated short to very short, down from 96 the week prior. There were only 5.0 days suitable for field work due to heavy rains.
Wheat, rye and canola began to emerge, as planting continued. Wheat seedbed preparation was 85 percent complete by the end of the week, and 35 percent was planted. Fourteen percent of the wheat was emerged by Sept. 30. Rye seedbed preparation was 91 percent complete by week's end. Rye planting was 56 percent complete and 26 percent was emerged by Sept. 30. Oat seedbed preparation was two thirds completed by week's end and 13 percent was planted. Seedbed preparation was complete on 90 percent of canola fields by Sept. 30. Canola planting was halfway complete, and eight percent of the crop had emerged by the end of the week.
Conditions of cotton, sorghum and soybeans were rated mostly poor to very poor. The corn harvest was 79 complete by the end of the week, 12 points ahead of the five-year average. Sorghum headed reached 95 percent complete and 86 percent of the crop was coloring. Sorghum mature reached 59 percent complete by week's end, and 42 percent of the sorghum crop was harvested, 20 points ahead of normal. Ninety-three percent of soybeans were setting pods by Sept. 30. Soybean plants reported as mature reached 30 percent by the end of the week eight percent of the crop was reported as harvested. The peanut crop was 64 percent mature by the end of the week and a small portion had been dug. Ninety-five percent of cotton plants were setting bolls by the end of the week and 68 percent had bolls opening.
Hay conditions continued to be rated mostly poor to very poor. The third cutting of alfalfa was 95 percent complete and a fourth cutting of alfalfa was 52 percent complete by Sept. 30. The second cutting of other hay reached 64 percent complete, eight points behind the five-year average.
Conditions of pasture and range continued to be rated mostly poor to very poor. Producers are haying livestock due to the limited availability of pasture. Livestock conditions were rated mostly good to fair. Low pond levels continued to be a serious concern, even after recent rainfall. Prices for feeder steers less than 800 pounds averaged $146 per cwt. Prices for heifers less than 800 pounds averaged $135 per cwt.