The first-day wheat reports show the highest expected yields in the past decade.
According to the first 280 samples of the Wheat Quality Council's 2012 Hard Winter Wheat Tour, a big wheat crop is in the cards. The Day 1 average expected yield came in at 53.6 bu./acre at the tour stop in Colby, Kan.
Here’s an overview of previous yield averages from the first day:
- 2011: 40.0 bu./acre (267 stops)
- 2010: 40.7 bu./acre (213 stops)
- 2009: 41.3 bu./acre (215 stops)
- 2008: 45.4 bu./acre (190 stops)
- 2007: 40.0 bu./acre (209 stops)
"This is a solid, above-average crop," says Dave Green, a veteran tour scout who works with ADM Milling. "We had a lot of stops, and our expected yield is a lot better than we have been for a long time."
The 100 crop scouts filled around 20 cars that traveled six routes throughout Kansas and parts of southern Nebraska.
Numbers Can Be Deceiving
Jim Shroyer of Kansas State University says he is amazed by the estimates recorded for the first day of the tour.
"We’re 5 bu. higher than our best yields of 2005. I can tell you right now that this year’s crop is not 5 bu. higher than 2005."
Shroyer says one of the main reasons this year’s estimates are so much higher is that the wheat is much more developed than normal. He says that on average, the Kansas wheat crop is three weeks ahead of schedule.
He adds that as the tour moves into southern and southeastern Kansas, scouts will see less healthy wheat. "The crop is kind of living hand-to-mouth. We didn’t have subsoil moisture last year."
Comments from the Rows
Craig Warner of Bimbo Bakeries traveled a route through northern Kansas and southern Nebraska. Out of the 21 fields his team sampled, only three had not moved into the ripening or heading stage, another sign of a well-advanced crop.
Yet, in these mature fields, some yield-inhibiting scenarios were found. "We noted a lot more disease closer to Manhattan. We also noticed the conditions were a little bit drier in Nebraska," Warner says. Other scouts also reported disease. Eric Corwin of General Mills says his team saw a lot of disease and some frost damage: "Out of 12 fields, there was only one field that didn’t have a disease issue."
Yet, overall, many scouts reported a good-looking crop. Wade Betschart of Gavilon Grain traveled through central and north central Kansas. "There’s a lot of potential. With some timely rains, it could get even better," he says.
A Farmer’s Perspective
Several area farmers joined the wheat scouts in Colby to hear the outcomes and share their own reports.
Tanner Ehmke, a farmer from Lane County, Kan., says an extreme lack of moisture during the past few years is severely hurting his crop.
"Some plants are already shutting off because of a lack of moisture. We came into the season with no subsoil moisture," he says. With 90° weather predicted for much of the week, Ehmke is hoping for some helpful rains.
The Remainder of the Tour
Scouts will travel from Colby, scouting fields in Kansas and dipping down into northern Oklahoma on Wednesday. They will convene in Wichita, Kan., on Wednesday evening to compile and reveal Day 2’s findings. The final yield estimates will be released Thursday afternoon at the Kansas City Board of Trade.
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.