Wheat Tour Day 2: 42 bushels per acre

West central and southwest Kansas, Oklahoma weigh in on hard winter wheat progress. 

“We’re dry.” 

Gary Millershaski sums up his area of Kansas with those two words. 

Millershaski, who farms in Kearny County, near the Nebraska border, has had 3.9-inches of rain since August, 2019. His farm is smack dab in the middle of severe drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. 

Millershaski fertilized for a 50 bushel wheat crop, but expects a 31 bushel average on his farm. “Our quantity will be down, but hopefully quality will be up,” he says. 

His story is not unique. Across west central and southwest Kansas, the wheat crop is in poor shape, says Romulo Lollato, Extension wheat specialist at Kansas State University. 

Lollato traveled the west central part of Kansas for Day 2 of Kansas Wheat’s virtual wheat tour, making 19 field stops, estimating yield in each field. 

The wheat yield measurement ranged from 18 to 65 bushels per acre, with an average of 40 bushels per acre in all. Lollato stresses that today’s measurement represents a snapshot in time, assuming good weather from now to harvest. 

“That 65 bushel per acre yield estimate needs a rain to get there,” he says. 

In southwest Kansas, Lollato made 8 field stops, with yield ranging from 10 to 69 bushels per acre, and an average yield of 23 bushels per acre. The wheat is short in the western portion of this region, where drought is worst. 

“In the eastern portion of the region, we’re seeing better yield potential, but also stripe rust,” the specialist says. 

Taking into account additional yield estimates from farmers, certified crop advisors and extension agents, wheat yield estimates are:

  • West Central Kansas: 11 to 70 bushels per acre, 42.5 bushel per acre average
  • Southwest Kansas: 11 to 70 bushels per acre, 32.9 bushel per acre average. 

In two days of field tours, Kansas Wheat estimates a 42 bushel per acre average, including north central Kansas and the entire western third of the state, says Aaron Harries, vice president of Research and Operations with Kansas Wheat.

Oklahoma totals

More than 160 participants in the virtual tour heard the status of the Oklahoma wheat crop from Mike Schulte, executive director of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission. 

He reckons Oklahoma will harvest 96.5 million bushels from 2.9 million acres of wheat, for an average of 33 bushels per acre. Two weeks ago, USDA pegged the crop at 2.7 million acres, and 38 bushels per acre for a total of 102.6 million bushels. 

Harvest in the Sooner State could begin late next week, or the week after, Schulte says.

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