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Journal photo by Lacey Newlin.

The Wheat Quality Council hard red winter wheat tour has been tradition for wheat growers, economists and Extension experts for more than 50 years; however, with the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the tours will be conducted on virtual platforms.

The Oklahoma tour is planned for 9 a.m. May 5. with limited attendees as officials hope to provide a recorded video for interested parties to view at a later date.

Joe Hampton, CEO and president of the Oklahoma Grain and Feed Association, said the virtual tour will be the same, only conducted remotely with people reporting individually from specific regions what they are seeing from those specific areas.

"The importance of the wheat tour is that we have people out on the ground doing the counts and reporting back,” Hampton said. “We will still have all the same data from experts, the only difference is we won’t be all together when it is presented.”

Hampton said Southwest Oklahoma wheat fields are expected to be heavily impacted by recent freeze damage.

“I’m hearing reports of federal crop adjusters coming out and adjusting half a bushel an acre or eight-tenths a bushel an acre and it appears that the head is there, but the freeze hit at the time it was flowering and there’s nothing in the head.”

As far as the virtual format, Hampton expects it to be just as informative, just lacking the usual social aspect of the event.

“I wish we could have always done it like we always have, but with the way the world is today, this is best alternative,” Hampton said.

To register, visit www.dasnr.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_0LXreGywQYyPTqhgQv-98g. Registration is limited to 300 people. Apply now.

Lacey Newlin can be reached at 580-748-1892 or lnewlin@hpj.com.

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