Wheat Quality Council
2002 Hard Spring & Durum
Wheat Crop Tour

July 29 August 1, 2002    

Summary by Ben Handcock, Wheat Quality Council

The tour was conducted from July 29 August 1 in North Dakota plus parts of South Dakota and Minnesota. (click here for Tour Map) Forty-six people participated.

The spring wheat fields surveyed (310) averaged 32 bushels per acre.  The durum fields (49) averaged 25.4 bushels per acre.  The spring wheat potential is about 3 bushels below last year and 1 bushel below the 5-year tour average.  The durum potential is about 3 bushels below last year and 1 bushel below the 5-year tour average. (click here for Tour Results)

The weighted average for all spring and durum fields was 31.1 compared to the 5-year tour average of 31.5.

As we expected, the crop was vastly different from southwest to northeast.  The southern part of the state is extremely dry and yields will be greatly reduced.  The route south and west from Bismarck estimated yields from 7 to 20 bushels.  Obviously, many of those fields will not be harvested.  Some are only 8-10 inches tall.  The east and northeast parts of the state have had too much moisture and significant water damage.  The wheat that is likely to be cut however is really pretty good.

I would expect the overall quality of this crop to be good.  We could find some evidence of scab in areas of the state, but at this time would not expect to see many real problems.  The durum crop seems to be moving farther west to avoid the scab prone areas.  The durum crop is going to be relatively late, but the head size and lack of disease are encouraging signs.

The biggest issue in most areas will be the weed problems.  Fewer tillers provide less canopy and weeds are now an issue.  A new flush of weeds seems to have appeared after the farmers applied their herbicide.  Some fields nearing harvest have already been sprayed with a chemical to burn down the weeds and help dry down the crop.

The tour does not try to estimate abandoned acres, but the acres harvested will certainly be lower than normal.  Wheat in hay bales in the south was a common sight.

Our results should not be viewed as being official.  The North Dakota Agricultural Statistics Service will be giving monthly updates of the official data.

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