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Wheat Tour: Day 2 scouting sees worse crop in western Kansas

Due to dry conditions, crop yield potential worsens the further west in Kansas you go, according to scouts on this week's Wheat Quality Council wheat tour.

Day two of the winter wheat tour, consisting of scouts in 14 cars, started Wednesday from Colby, Kansas and ended in Wichita, Kansas. A few of the scouts toured through the northern counties of Oklahoma.

Before finishing Thursday afternoon, scouts will have seen a good portion of the U.S. winter wheat in the Plains states of Nebraska, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

Ben Handcock, Wheat Quality Council (WQC) spokesman, told Agriculture Online that on Day two the crop scouts witnessed a spotty crop throughout the western Kansas and northern Oklahoma areas.

"We found spots where there was pretty good wheat, and a lot of spots where the crop is average to below average," Handcock said.

After making 200 stops, the WQC scouts came up with a yield average of 33.5 bushels per acre, well below 46.5 last year on these same routes.

"We're 13 bushels below last year," Handcock said. "We're not 13 bushels below every year on this tour, just last year. Keep in mind that last year was a pretty good one."

Still, through two days of touring, the crop hasn't looked very good and probably won't again on today's third and final leg, Handcock said.

"We're going to make a few stops per car today in southeast Kansas, working our way to Kansas City," Handcock said. "This area has smaller amounts of wheat and not very significant in the grand scheme of things, so we'll make fewer stops."

On Thursday afternoon, the WQC will be announcing a crop estimate for the winter wheat in Kansas. Private estimates for the 2006 Kansas crop range from 330-340 million bushels. Last year, Kansas harvested a wheat crop of 380 million.

On Tuesday, the opening day of the tour through northern Kansas, the scouts estimated an average yield of 40.6 bushels per acre, below last year's 48.9 average from the same routes.

For Kansas, the 5-year tour average is 39.1 bushels per acre.

Meanwhile, Nebraska wheat crop experts this week estimated this year's crop as better than last year's, Handcock said. In Colorado, state crop scouts reported to the tour a 2006 wheat yield estimate of 31.4 bushels per acre compared to 36.0 last year.

Due to dry conditions, crop yield potential worsens the further west in Kansas you go, according to scouts on this week's Wheat Quality Council wheat tour.

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