Farmers Losing Crops Due to Drought, Freezing Temps - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Farmers Losing Crops Due to Drought, Freezing Temps

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COTTON CO., Okla_ Southwestern Oklahoma wheat farmers, especially those from Walters to Hollis are welcoming any thunderstorms, severe or not, as their crops are in dire need of rain.

The freezing temperatures coming with the storm system are a different story. Most wheat crops are early enough in development to recover from hail damage, but too late in development to fully recover from recent cold snaps. Any additional freezing weather could do their crops in for good.

Unfortunately, farmer Matt Wyatt said he's preparing to harvest only 15% of what he planted. So, he's planning on losing around 85%. Remember, crop production is a big chunk of a farmer's income. So in all reality, this is like someone taking a huge and almost unrealistic pay cut at work.

Wyatt said "frustrated" is an understatement when talking about this growing season. He was hoping for a 40 bushel crop.

"This is just like you getting a paycheck," Wyatt said. "We get a paycheck once a year on this crop, and when you don't receive it, it's pretty disastrous."

Now, his only hope is an insurance agency, and he's not the only one. Mark Gregory, an agronomy specialist from the OSU Extension Service, met at the Tri-County Gin Tuesday with numerous area farmers to help them figure out the next step. He said the timing of the freeze has even put a damper on haying. The crop isn't real tall, so it won't produce much hay.

For that reason, Wyatt isn't even considering cutting his crop for hay.

"Normally, the wheat would be at least knee high," Wyatt said. "When it's fully headed, it's from knee high to my waist."

That's why Gregory thinks that some farmers may possibly try and do something else with their fields.

"Some of the guys may talk about going to cotton production or grain production," Gregory said.

All he knows for sure is the end result will be different for every farmer.

"It's varying from field to field," Gregory said. "Planting dates make a difference. We have some real differences showing up."

One of the big differences is how much moisture was actually within the plant when the freeze happened, which unfortunately was not enough in Matt Wyatt's case.

Gregory said a plant with a lot of moisture has a better chance of surviving a freeze.  So, he said areas like Hobart and parts of Stephens County, which have seen a little more rain, aren't having as big of a problem with the damage.

Gregory said the wheat crop is resilient and could possibly recover with cool temperatures and a lot of rain through May. Although, he doesn't look for the weather to cooperate with farmers any time soon.

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