OK Panhandle Wheat Crisis - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

OK Panhandle Wheat Crisis

Low wheat supplies are driving up the price of staple food items like bread and cereal. As Newschannel 10's Stephanae Benson reports that's because dry land wheat farmers are not producing a crop this year. 
Tom Stephens has moved to an irrigated system so he can harvest a wheat crop this year, but he adds mother nature still has a way of interfering with even the best laid plans. 

"Those of us that have an irrigated will raise a wheat crop provided we're not hailed out because when we've been in a drought period and then we start getting moisture then the chances we get hail is greater."
Stephens says dry land wheat is best because it produces a richer crop and is less expensive to produce, but severe drought conditions in the Oklahoma Panhandle have made dry land wheat crops non-existent this year. 

"Dry land wheat farmers are hurting because they're not going to have a crop this year and in order to have a wheat crop next year we've got to receive quite a bit of moisture because we have none in the ground now." Stephens says farmers are hoping to build up about 3 to 4 feet of moisture so they are able to plant this fall.

So we asked our own Meteorologist John Harris to put together a forecast to see what our farmers in the Oklahoma Panhandle can expect.

"As we make our way into the summer and early fall months it looks like we'll go back in to a normal weather pattern, which is typically good news for us. Our wettest period of the year is typically June, July and August and so if we could build up that sub soil moisture that will help out with the planting season."
Harris says that will happen in the form of summertime rains that are usually slow soakers, and monsoons to provide moisture to accumulate sub soil moisture.
Stephens is optimist but from experience says you never know until you get the wheat in the elevator.

"You have a positive out look to farm it's always gonna be better."

This crisis is affecting consumers as stape food items like bred, cereal and bagels, all wheat products have tripled.  Economist recommend stocking up on these food items that have a long shelf life.


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