Summary by Ben Handcock
Fifteen cars and 61 participants surveyed the potential of the Kansas wheat crop the week of April 30 – May 3, 2001. The total number of field stops was 480.
Crop scouts received a brief training and tour overview session April 30 in Manhattan, KS. On May 1, the fifteen cars traveled on six different routes and arrived that evening in Colby, KS. The scouts reported almost no disease problems, but reported a real variable crop yield wise. Yields ranged from zero to sixty-four bushels with a day one average of 32.6 bushels per acre.
Day two saw cars going from Colby to Wichita, KS. Again, disease was almost non-existent, but yields were all over the board. They ranged from eight to 71 bushels with a day two average of 31.7 bushels per acre.
Day three concluded the tour with a final survey of fields from Wichita to Kansas City. These fields had an average of 39 bushels per acre. Due to weighted averages, this smaller production area does not have a huge influence on statewide statistics. Again, lack of disease pressure was clearly evident.
The results of each day plus the three-day composite can be seen in the accompanying tables. Last years results are noted for comparison.
Our calculated formula result for the entire trip was 32.7 bushels per acre versus 41.4 bushels on the same routes last year. Fifty-one tour participants estimated the total production for Kansas at an average of 277.6 million bushels. This compares with our estimate of 382.4 million bushels last year. The Kansas Ag Statistics Service will reveal the actual Kansas production figures later in the year.
If our number is close to the real production, this will be the smallest crop in Kansas since 1996.
Scouts from Nebraska, Colorado and Oklahoma also gave the group results of their own state mini-tours. Nebraska pegged its crop at 32 bushels versus 39.8 in 2000. Colorado estimated yields of 28.8 compared with 42.8 in 2000. Oklahoma’s tour resulted in a yield estimate of 25.7 bushels and a total crop of 87.2 million bushels compared to last year’s estimate of 155.4 million bushels.
The keys to the 2001 crop are moisture and the number of acres of abandonment. Moisture stresses were noted in each state in varying degrees of severity. It looked as if the number of acres of abandonment could be higher than normal. Nobody knows what the actual final percentage might be. Estimates in Kansas range form 13 percent to as high as 20 percent or more. It rained in most areas of the state immediately following the tour, and that might slow the rate of destruction and help this crop a great deal.