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Snow, Impassable Fields Make For Tough Day Two of Kansas Wheat Tour

Participants Saw Extensive Frost Damage, Broken Stems on Day Two.

It was another snowy day for participants on the Wheat Quality Council’s Kansas Wheat Tour. They found yields that were behind last year’s second-day estimates but still relatively high.

More than 70 growers, analysts, and agronomists made 205 stops and estimated yields of 46.9 bushels an acre, down from 49.3 bushels a year ago after winding their way through the wheat-rich western counties of the state on the second day of the event.

The two-day total, including Tuesday’s forecast for northern and more central counties, is at 44.9 bushels an acre, behind last year’s 48.2 bushels, said Dave Green, the executive vice president of the Wheat Quality Council. The count may be in question since participants couldn’t get into fields for the first 100 miles outside of Colby, Kansas, because of snow, he said.

“That wheat was covered in snow or otherwise impassable,” Green said. “Most of it was partially snow covered, but the ditches and the side entrances to the fields were impassable.”

The weather was so bad that one van became stuck in the mud, he said.

While the extent of the damage isn’t yet known and likely won’t be for at least a couple of weeks, one agronomist on the tour said he saw a lot of freeze damage and broken stems from the weight of the heavy snow, Green said.

It’s unlikely the yields will be as high as the tour participants forecast if the agronomist is right, he said.

“I’m not so sure we won’t be lower than that,” Green said.

U.S. growers as a whole were forecast to plant 46.1 million acres of the grain, down 8% from the prior year and the least since the start of record keeping in 1919, according to the Department of Agriculture. Winter-wheat acres are projected at the lowest since 1909.

Hard-red winter acres were seen at 23.8 million acres, down 9% year-over-year, and Kansas acreage was pegged at 7.5 million, down 12% from the prior year, according to the USDA.

The tour wraps up tomorrow as members head back to Manhattan where the event started on Tuesday, a change from past years when it would head to Kansas City to give final numbers. Few stops are expected, as is common for the last day of the tour.

Final results from the state are expected sometime in the early afternoon, Green said.

 

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