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Kansas Wheat Would Welcome Rain

May 3, 2012
By: Sara Schafer, Farm Journal Media Business and Crops Editor
dry wheat field
Extremely dry fields such as this one in Wichita County, Kan., were common on day two of the 2012 Hard Winter Wheat Tour.  

 

The success of much of the central and southern Kansas wheat crop will depend on rain.

 
If there’s one key element that the wheat crop in southwestern and central Kansas is missing – it’s water. After 286 stops in those areas, the day two average for the Wheat Quality Council's 2012 Hard Winter Wheat Tour is 43.7 bu./acre.
 
Day one results, which covered parts of northern and central Kansas, as well as southern Nebraska, came in at 53.6 bu./acre, after 280 stops. The average for the two days is 48.6 bu./acre.
 
Here’s an overview of the recent day two observations:
  • 2011: 36.7 bu./acre (264 stops)
  • 2010: 39.9 bu./acre (215 stops)
  • 2009: 39.8 bu./acre (212 stops)
  • 2008: 40.9 bu./acre (167 stops)
  • 2007: 43.2 bu./acre (208 stops)

 

wheat scouts

Wheat scouts sample a field in south-central Kansas. Their yield estimates are compiled with the results from other scouts to determine the day two yield average.

 

The Limiting Factor

Around 100 wheat scouts traveled in 21 differnet cars from Colby, Kan., to Wichita, Kan. During the evening reports, scouts were quick to point to a lack of moisture as the crop’s biggest problem.
 
USDA’s Rachel Trego says the crop conditions her group say ranged from good to fairly dry. "We saw a need for timely rains."
 
Ron Betzen with the Kansas Farm Bureau thinks farmers in the areas he scouted will begin harvest in three to six weeks, a sign of an advanced crop. But, the crop could definitely use a drink before then. "The wheat quality really depended on the available moisture."
 
Dave Green, a veteran tour scout who works with ADM Milling, says you can almost draw a line in Kansas between the good estimated yields and the not-so-good.
 
That line is pretty evident on the latest Drought Monitor Index. The areas from moderate and severe drought are the same areas where estimated yields were lower.
 
ks drought monitor
 

What the Crop Needs Now

Even with the good estimates, a lot can still damage Kansas wheat crop yields.
 
Justin Gilpin, chief executive officer of the Kansas Wheat Commission and Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, says heat, a lack of rain and an increase in disease pressure could still hurt the Kansas wheat crop.
 
"Heat has almost as big of an impact as moisture for the winter wheat crop."
 

The Remainder of the Tour

Scouts will travel from Wichita Thursday morning and convene at the Kansas City Board of Trade in the early afternoon. There, the final yield estimates will be released.

 

 
For More Information
Stay tuned to AgWeb.com for more coverage of the 2012 Hard Winter Wheat Tour. You can also follow the tour on twitter at #wheattour12.

 

How does your wheat crop look? Submit your report to AgWeb Crop Comments.
 


Related Video Report :

During the 55th annual Hard Winter Wheat Tour, put on by the Wheat Quality Council, around 100 scouts are crisscrossing Kansas, as well as parts of Nebraska, Colorado and Oklahoma. Learn how they sample each wheat field and determine a yield estimate.

 

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RELATED TOPICS: Wheat, Agronomy, Crops, Wheat Tour

 
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