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Oklahoma wheat crop seen at 96.5 million bushels -industry tour

By Julie Ingwersen

CHICAGO, May 5 (Reuters) - A group of Oklahoma crop experts on Tuesday projected Oklahoma's 2020 winter wheat harvest at 96.524 million bushels, with an average yield of 33.16 bushels per acre, following an annual tour of the state.

The figures from the No. 3 U.S. winter wheat state offered an early glance at wheat prospects in the United States, the third-largest global exporter of the food grain.

Oklahoma produced 110 million bushels of winter wheat in 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA is scheduled to release its first official 2020 crop estimates on May 12.

The 2020 Oklahoma estimates, released in an online conference call, were based on field assessments conducted by Oklahoma State University Extension educators as well as private crop consultants and area educators, said Mike Schulte, executive director of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission, which helped coordinate the tour.

Crops in western Oklahoma are being stressed by dry weather and wheat in south-central Oklahoma is struggling to recover from an April 15 freeze.

"We still have to be really concerned about moisture conditions in the western region of the state. If we turn extremely hot, we are going to see yield impact," Schulte said.

Harvest of the state's hard red winter wheat, which is milled into flour for bread, begins in early June. (Reporting by Julie Ingwersen; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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