Chronicle photo by Steve Booker                                THUNDER ROLLS! Storm clouds seem to roll on the east side of the Apache Co-Op Branch in Elgin Friday, May 24, as storms continued to pelt southwest Oklahoma.
Chronicle photo by Steve Booker THUNDER ROLLS! Storm clouds seem to roll on the east side of the Apache Co-Op Branch in Elgin Friday, May 24, as storms continued to pelt southwest Oklahoma.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma’s canola and wheat harvests could be smaller and come later than expected due to recent severe weather, agriculture officials said.

Josh Lofton, the state’s agriculture secretary and Mike Schulte, executive director of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission, said that growers will need another week to assess the damage, and the harvests likely won’t start before then, The Oklahoman reported.

“We have got a lot of challenges ahead of us, weather wise, before we can get this crop out,” Schulte said.

Oklahoma has withstood a barrage of harsh weather this month. Two people died after a rash of tornadoes hit the state Saturday, and flooding along the Arkansas River last week submerged communities and prompted mandatory evacuations. More flooding is expected.

Excessive water can be a problem, Lofton said, because plants and soil organisms need oxygen to live.

“When they go underwater for long periods of time, that’s not good for them,” Lofton added. “A difference between 12 and 48 hours can have exponential impacts.”

For more developed wheat plants, severe storms might decrease a plant’s harvest. But he and Schulte noted the newer flowering plants could suffer more damage.

 

 

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