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Wheat Scouts Estimate 46.9 Bushels Per Acre on Tour's First Day

Day 1 of the annual Wheat Quality Council Hard Wheat Tour stopped in northern Kansas fields.

A little rain, some light leaf disease and frost damage, and a lot of wheat.  

That’s what the 75 participants of the Wheat Quality Council Hard Red Winter Wheat Tour saw on Day 1 of the 2019 tour, which spanned from Manhattan Kansas to Colby, Kansas – the north central and northwest part of the state. 

Tuesday’s 20 cars of wheat tour scouts made 240 stops at wheat fields across north central, central and northwest Kansas, and into southern counties in Nebraska. The calculated yield is based on what scouts saw at this point in time. The crop is behind schedule in terms of development, and a lot can happen between now and harvest.

The calculated yield from all cars in Kansas was 46.9 bushels per acre.

In addition, scouts from Nebraska and Colorado met the group in Colby, Kansas, to give reports from their states. The estimate for the Nebraska wheat crop is 47.4 million bushels, down from 49.5 million bushels last year. The estimated yield average is 44 bushels per acre. In Colorado, the estimated yield was 46.5 bushels per acre. Production in Colorado is estimated at 97.2 million bushels, up from 70.2 million bushels last year.

Every tour participant makes yield calculations at every stop based on three different area samplings per field. These individual estimates are averaged with the rest of their car mates, and eventually added to a formula that produces a final yield estimate for the areas along the routes.

The tour left Manhattan – in the northeastern third of the state – amid rain showers. These continued most of the day, throughout the state. 

Lakin, Kansas farmer Gary Millershaski, who sits on the Kansas Wheat Commission, drove the Tour’s “Pink Route,” which dissects the northern third of the state. The best field his car of wheat scouts encountered was 50 bushels per acre; the lowest, about 25 bushels per acre or so. 

“For the most part, a lot of out wheat was in the 30s,” Millershaski says. “My eyeball yield was 48 or 49, but when we did the math it was it might be 36 or 37 bushels per acre.” 

In central Kansas, wheat fields are dry; a soil probe could not penetrate more than six inches deep in much of this region. “We’re several weeks behind [normal maturity for this date] and we really need the rain this week,” says Millershaski, who has participated in the tour for four years. 

However, there are areas of the state that have excellent wheat. “We’re going to see wheat that if you managed it for yield, and planted timely, will be 65 bushels per acre or more,” he says. “But if not, they’ll cut 35 bushel wheat.” 

Wheat prices at the Chicago Board of Trade dropped 8 cents Tuesday.

Wheat Tour 19 continues Wednesday with six routes between Colby and Wichita, Kan.

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