Drought devastates Oklahoma’s wheat crop

OKLAHOMA CITY - Much of the state continues to battle drought conditions.

Many people have noticed the very dry outer banks of Lake Hefner.

In the western half of our state, they’re facing an even bigger crisis, with many parts in either an “exceptional” or “extreme” drought.

The Oklahoma Wheat Commission says this year’s crop will go down in history as one of the worst in decades.

The crop is down 38% from the previous five-year average.

With a month to go before Oklahoma’s wheat harvest, Tom Glazier does not like the sound of crunching beneath his feet.

This farmer of 50 years says his wheat crop is supposed to be waiving up to his waist, but instead it is below his knees.

Glazier says this is the worst drought he has ever seen.

“Oh yes. By far,” he said. “It’s never looked this bad.”

The drought has made Tom feel lucky to harvest half of last year’s crop.

Soon, the lackluster wheat harvest could have consumers feeling the heat as well.

However, the Department of Agriculture says any price increase to wheat foods wouldn’t happen overnight.

The price of bread on shelves today is a product of last year’s harvest.

NewsChannel 4′s Mike Morgan says a combination of factors are to blame for the drought.

“A combination of a very cold winter, basically dry, then we had a hard April freeze. Now the spring rains have not come through,” said Morgan. “Oklahoma City is over seven inches behind for the year to date, but keep in mind it was also dry late last fall. Western Oklahoma never got out of an exceptional drought that’s pushing rapidly toward central Oklahoma.”

Glazier remains hopeful the drought will end soon.

“That’s just part of your way of life, farming,” Glazier said. “But it’ll rain one of these days.”

He says crop insurance will help him survive for a while.

Morgan says we may start to climb out of this drought Sunday night or Monday morning, but a few thunderstorms here and there won’t be enough.