Oklahoma County Cooperative Extension Service

Wheat Information

 More than 37,000 acres of land in Oklahoma County are covered in wheat. It is the number one crop produced in Oklahoma County.

Winter wheat is the most important crop in Oklahoma agriculture. Annually, it occupies over one-half of the cash receipts from crops. Wheat ranks second in value to the cattle and calf industry, an industry which itself depends heavily on wheat for winter pasture. Nationally, Oklahoma ranks second in the production of winter wheat and third in total wheat production.

Successful, profitable wheat farming today demands that the producer have a thorough knowledge of the crop and the cultural and environmental factors that influence its growth. The correct management decisions made at the proper time can greatly influence the wheat grower's success.

Wheat Production Practices

Seed Quality

Seed quality is probably the most overlooked or underrated factor in wheat production. Good quality seed has good germination, is genetically and mechanically pure, and is free of weed seeds and other contaminants. Poor quality seed can reduce production or production efficiency in three ways.

Poor Stands: The effect of poor stands on production is obvious, and if replanting is necessary, production efficiency is reduced. Planting low viability seed can result in poor stands. The cause of low seed viability is usually in adequate storage conditions or disease.

Weed Infestation: Seed wheat is a common avenue for the introduction of weeds into production fields. Many farmers unknowingly plant weeds with their wheat. This practice can result in: (1) the contamination of a previously weed-free field, (2) the introduction of new weed species, and (3) the perpetuation of weed control problems. A recent survey in Oklahoma revealed that the average farmer plants 24 weed seed with every pound of wheat seed.

Genetic purity: The presence of different plant types (i.e. maturity, plant height) is often a result of genetic impurity or varietal contamination and may depress yields.

For a guaranteed level of quality, Oklahoma certified seed is the best choice. Since certified classes of seed are somewhat more expensive, only a small percent of the total acreage in Oklahoma is sown to them. The majority of farmers still plant their own seed or seed obtained from a neighbor. Before planting seed from personal stock or an uncertified source, producers should check for cleanliness, germination and freedom from disease. If cleaning is necessary, the seed cleaner should be free of rye or jointed goatgrass seeds that are not easily separated form wheat.

Seed-borne Diseases

Diseases of wheat such as seed rots, seedling blights, common bunt and loose smut can be greatly reduced or prevented by treating the seed with fungicides. The effectiveness of the treatment depends on selecting the right chemical and applying it properly.

Variety Selection

Most wheat producers recognize the importance of careful variety selection. There are several varieties and hybrids today representing a range in varietal characteristics and yield performance. Plant maturity, height, straw strength, winter hardiness and disease and insect resistance should be considered. Each trait contributes to the overall yield of a variety. The best sources of information on varietal performance and adaptability for Oklahoma are the Current Reports of the wheat variety testing program of the OSU Agricultural Extension Service and Agronomy Department. It is recommended that at least three years' data be used, with particular emphasis given to data obtained from the specific region of the state in which the crop will be grown.

Caution should be used when selection is based on testimonials, a few good looking heads, or even a single year's data. If a variety is obtained under these conditions, plant only a very small acreage to serve as an on-farm test. The following is a list of the top-performing varieties in Oklahoma County.

Wheat Varieties


2163 is a semidwarf hard red winter wheat developed and released by Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. It is high yielding, has fair test weight and has better straw strength than most varieties. 2163 is resistant to Hessian Fly and moderately resistant to soil borne mosaic virus, leaf rust stem rust and powdery mildew.


2180 is an awned semidwarf hard red winter wheat developed and released by Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. 2180 is resistant to Hessian Fly, moderately resistant to soil borne mosaic virus and leaf rust, moderately susceptible to stem rust and susceptible to powdery mildew.


Custer hard red winter wheat was developed by the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station and released in the Spring of 1994. It is a semidwarf variety with medium-early maturity. It has good leaf rust resistance and satisfactory milling and baking quality. Custer is adapted throughout Oklahoma. Custer features high yields and leaf rust resistance and exhibits good grain protein and test weight. Custer outyielded all check varieties in Oklahoma tests conducted in 1992 and 1993.


Jagger is a very early maturing, moderately short variety with good straw strength. It has fair winterhardiness similar to Hawk and Newton. Jagger has good protection to many of the important wheat diseases. It is susceptible to Hessian fly and powdery mildew. Grain has average test weights with acceptable milling and baking qualities. Jagger was developed by Kansas and the USDA-ARS.


Tomahawk's strengths are in its yields and resistance to soilborne mosaic virus and tan spot. It is rated as average in its maturity, straw strength and winterhardiness as well as its resistance to leaf rust and powdery mildew diseases.

For more information on wheat production in Oklahoma County call the Oklahoma County OSU Extension Center at (405) 278-1125 or e-mail your name, mailing address and phone number to

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