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By United States Department of Agriculture
Oklahoma City, OK - The condition of small grains and canola across Oklahoma continued to deteriorate under the protracted drought, according to the Oklahoma Crop Weather report issued today by USDA-NASS Oklahoma Field Office. Seventy percent of rye, 65 percent of canola and 61 percent of wheat were rated poor to very poor at the end of December.
The poor condition of small grains meant limited grazing opportunities for livestock producers already facing poor pastures and low hay supplies. A winter storm on Christmas Day brought snow, with the highest totals falling in southeastern Oklahoma.
A few other minor precipitation events followed the last week of December. The Southeast district has recorded 2.49 inches for the month so far, with most districts averaging less than half an inch. Precipitation totals on this report include rain and snow measured through December 30th, but frozen precipitation is recorded as it melts, so some snow and ice may be excluded. Overall the moisture received during December was still far below average for the month, leaving seasonal totals even further behind.
For the period since September 1st all districts have received less than sixty percent of their normal moisture. The North Central district has recorded only 34 percent of normal precipitation for this period. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 92 percent short to very short. Subsoil moisture conditions declined from the last report and were rated 98 percent short to very short.
Small Grains: Conditions of wheat, rye and canola were rated mostly poor to very poor and oats were rated mostly fair to poor. Only 22 percent of the wheat crop was being grazed, 15 points below 2011. Thirty percent of rye was reported as grazed, 34 points less than normal. A very small portion of oats were being grazed, compared to 43 percent of oats grazed last year, and a five-year average of 21 percent.
Pasture and Range: Pasture and range conditions continued to be rated poor to very poor throughout December. Several precipitation events the last week of the month may benefit conditions, but much more moisture is needed for grass to recover from the extended drought.
Livestock: The limited availability of small grain grazing along with the poor condition of pasture and grass meant hay and supplementary feed were crucial for livestock producers during December. Low pond levels from the extended drought continued to be problematic as well. Despite these difficulties, livestock conditions continued to be rated mostly in the good to fair range.
The entire Oklahoma report can be view online at: www.nass.usda.gov/ok under "Recent Reports." The national database, Quick Stats, and all USDA-NASS reports are available on the agency's web site at www.nass.usda.gov. For more information on NASS surveys and reports, call the USDA-NASS Oklahoma Field Office at 800-525-9226.