(Mandan, N.D.) – Spring wheat yields in southern North Dakota, southwest Minnesota and northern South Dakota averaged 38.4 bushels per acre on the first day of the Wheat Quality Council's
Hard Spring Wheat and Durum Tour, up from 36.2 bushels per acre measured last year for the same region.
Surveyors on the tour noted that yield potential was poorer in western regions due to lack of moisture while much more favorable conditions were located farther east in the Red River Valley. Few occurrences of disease or insect problems were noted.
"The Red River Valley was much better this year,” said Ben Hancock, South Dakota farmer and organizer of the tour. "The biggest thing we saw was that there was absolutely no disease pressure to speak of.”
Spring wheat quality also looks to be better this year, Handcock said, with kernels in the examined fields typically being noticeably big. Of the 145 fields examined on the first day of the crop tour, 128 fields were spring wheat.
Winter wheat yields averaged 45.9 bushels per acre, up from 37.9 bushels per acre last year with 14 fields examined, and durum yields averaged 27.4 bushels per acre, compared to 36.7 bushels the year prior with three fields surveyed.
Wednesday, the tour will travel north and west and will convene in Devils Lake, N.D. A new leg of the tour was added this year top the second day of the tour to account for new durum acres in northern and western North Dakota and Montana.
Conditions farther west are anticipated to much less favorable, Handcock said, due to drought stress.
"The durum crop might be disappointing,” Handcock said. "I think we might struggle to find a good crop.”
Based on USDA soil ratings, soil moisture in all of western North Dakota currently is rated short to very short.