POND CREEK, Okla. (AP)--Too much autumn moisture hampered efforts to plant winter Wheat acreage in much of Grant County.
Now, as spring blooms more each day, the call now is for rain void of hail.
"It's needing rain," said Grant County farmer Jeff Scott as he looked over his Wheat crop planted near the Four Corners intersection west of Pond Creek. "Because of the bluish cast you can see looking over these fields, that shows the stalks are beginning to stress, or hurt, for moisture."
Cherokee native Scott has been farming since 1992 with all of his sections located in Grant County.
He has weathered tough times that farmers must endure whether it be the market price per bushel or weather. Scott wouldn't trade it for anything, however.
"With all the ups and downs, I still enjoy it. I get to take part in the lives of my two children. It affords me a chance to be active in their lives," Scott said about the advantages of being his own boss.
As a result of too much dampness that he and other area farmers suffered through this fall, much of the current crop is showing a nitrogen depletion.
County extension agents also are reporting some Wheat disease, including some reports of rust evident.
"It was a heck of a winter. Too wet for the four-wheel drive pickup to get through on many of the roads. We had to feed cattle with trailers and tractors," Scott said.
The rough muddy terrain made for more equipment damage and costs. And, of course, the big spike in fuel costs has caused fertilizer to rise in price.
Scott's acreage had some small hail damage from an earlier spring storm that spawned funnel clouds near Wakita, but for the most part, the crop was in too early of a stage to suffer extreme damage.
A month before the spring storm, board of trade Wheat market prices from Kansas City and Chicago rose to $3.65 a bushel.
Scott, like many other farmers, took advantage of that by submitting a bid to lock his price per bushel during harvest at that commodity price to ensure some profitability.
"As farmers, we had our Christmas in March," Scott said.
The current rate per bushel is averaging prices below $3, he said.
And to combat weather variations, Scott, like many other farmers, is going more and more to no-till farming methods to prevent wind erosion and water runoff.
No-till has offered another bonus in that is slices the amount of fuel needed, he said.
"The health of the soil has improved," Scott said, also noting that he looks to enjoy more current success with canola as a rotational crop.
"I don't have a lot of faith in milo and soybeans. There's not enough good yield on acreage this far north in the state," Scott said.
After touching base on all variables of his operation, Scott summarized this year's Wheat outlook predicting "a profitable season."
"We're about two weeks away from heads emerging," Scott said, noting the pleasant noise of Wheat stalks bristling in the wind. "It gets louder as the crop ripens."