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Yield prospects jump as wheat tour wraps

Jeff Caldwell Updated: 05/03/2013 @ 2:20pm Agricultural content creator and marketer.

The Kansas wheat crop will yield just shy of 314 million bushels this year. That's the verdict after this week's three-day Kansas Winter Wheat Tour led by officials with Kansas Wheat.

That total comes in well off last year's total crop size of 360 million bushels and the previous five-year average of 341 million bushels, according to Kansas Wheat marketing director Aaron Harries. That crop size takes into account an acreage abandonment figure generated this week based on drought and late freeze damage.

"Seeing diverse conditions throughout the three-day tour, participants also expect abandonment of 18% of the state’s planted wheat acres, up from the yearly average of about 9% abandonment. Earlier this spring, USDA estimated that Kansas farmers planted 9.3 million acres of wheat last fall," Harries says. "Thus, an 18% abandonment would mean roughly 7.7 million acres of wheat would be harvested in Kansas."

The Kansas wheat tour wrapped up Thursday as the group of crop specialists and market participants made their way from Wichita in south-central Kansas to Kansas City. The ending day actually uncovered much better yields than the previous days, much of which were spent in the more wheat-heavy western parts of the state. Based on the Thursday tour stops, yield tallies were much better, though conditions were far from the best for the closing day of a spring wheat tour, Harries says.

"Day 3 of the annual Winter Wheat Tour was met with brutal weather conditions, including the first recorded snowstorm in Kansas I May since 1907," he says. "As such, just 29 field stops were made by tour participants, who traveled from Wichita to Kansas City for the tour wrap-up. Today’s average yield estimate for these fields is 52.3 bushels per acre, and ranged from 28 to 81 bushels per acre. Last year, the Day 3 yield estimate was 57.5 bushels per acre."

One major difference in the wheat crop between the eastern and western parts of the state is moisture; Harries says the crop is in much better shape in the eastern portion of the state, though it remains behind the normal development pace.

"All the yield estimates from the last three days assume decent moisture and average temperature prospects from now until harvest. The crop is several weeks behind normal in terms of maturity; Monday’s Crop Report from Kansas Ag Statistics indicated that just 1% of the crop has headed out, compared to 70% last year and 19 normal," Harries says. "Cold temperatures like we’ve been having will slow down the wheat crop even more."

Editor's Note: Photo above courtesy Aaron Harries, Kansas Wheat.

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