Hard Winter Wheat Quality Tour 2010
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Hard Winter Wheat Tour Summary by Ben Handcock
2010 Wheat Quality Council Hard Winter Tour Completed
Fifteen cars with 67 crop scouts surveyed and evaluated the potential of the Kansas wheat crop the week of May 3-6, 2010. The total number of field stops was 455 compared to 459 one year ago. This year the weather was great for all three days, and we had the largest number of participants in history.
The participants attended a brief training and tour overview session in Manhattan on the evening of May 3 before enjoying a great steak fry. The dinner was held at the IGP facility on the north end of the campus of KSU. Participants toured the Hal Ross flour mill after dinner.
Day one saw the 15 cars traveling on six different routes from Manhattan to Colby. (See tour map). The wheat seemed to be a little better right through the center of the state, and the Nebraska route found excellent wheat. Very little disease pressure was found by the scouts. Yields for the day ranged from 22-77 bushels per acre with the day one average on all routes at 40.7 bushels. This compares with 41.3 bushels one year ago. We stopped in 213 fields on day one. A group scouted eastern Colorado and reported a yield average of 36.5 bushels and estimated a total production of 81 million bushels for 2010. They also found little disease.
Day Two the cars traveled from Colby to Wichita. Several cars went
into the far western Kansas counties and two cars actually covered the
northern tier of Oklahoma counties. The western Kansas area was reported
as being very dry, and a good rain would help the crop significantly.
Day Three concluded the trip with the cars traveling from Wichita to Kansas City. We lost several cars and people in Wichita and made 27 stops on the shortened day. This smaller production area does not have a significant impact on the state-wide average, but is usually a high yielding area. Yields ranged from 16-107 bushels with the day three average at 46.4 compared to 43.7 last year. Moisture seemed to be adequate across this area of the state.
The Calculated Average for the entire tour was 40.7 bushels per acre compared to 40.8 bushels on the same routes in 2009. The scouts use a formula provided by KS Ag Statistics to arrive at their calculated average. The formula is based on a 10-year rolling average and changes slightly from year to year.
The Estimated Production for the Kansas crop by 56 participants who
joined the pool this year is 333.5 million bushels. These people base
their estimates on yield estimates and acres expected to be harvested.
There are always a number of abandoned acres and they attempt to factor
that into the equation. KS Ag Statistics will release their official
estimate of the crop on Tuesday, May 11. They surveyed the crop about
the same time we did.
Most parts of the state have adequate moisture, the exception being the southwest region. I arrived in Kansas expecting to see an above average crop. As the tour progressed, I became more convinced that the crop would be closer to a normal one. I believe our 40.7 bushel average will be very close the actual one. The 10-year average for Kansas is around 350 million bushels. Our estimators, at 333.5 are a little under that number, but a lot can happen in the next month to change this crop by that much. Keep in mind that we also have fewer planted acres this year.
The good news is that most of the crop appears to be very healthy and has that good dark green color. We did observe some nitrogen deficiency problems in isolated areas. The good rainfall totals appear to have leached the N too far down for the shallow rooted wheat to reach it. We have some producers concerned about leaf rust, but this would not appear to be a huge issue overall. Some stripe rust and tan spot was observed, but they too appear to be a relatively small problem at this time. I was very pleased with the lack of weed pressure in the areas I traveled.
Please keep in mind that this whole tour is a snapshot in time regarding the potential of this crop. About half of our group was first-timers. They reported learning a lot about wheat while having a good time doing it. The value of this exercise is the people you meet and the friends you make and keep in contact with over the years to come. Although I think we did a fine job of estimating the crop potential that really takes a back seat to the real value of the tour. This was truly a very diverse group of very nice people.
Thanks to all who sent employees, provided cars and helped in many ways to make this tour a success. I look forward to your support on our 54th annual Wheat Quality Council Hard Winter Wheat Tour.
Please share this information with others in your organization that may not be on our email list!!!
Remember our Hard Spring and Durum tour coming up on July 26-29. This tour covers North Dakota plus parts of Minnesota and South Dakota. A few brave souls will venture into Montana to look for a few more Durum fields to report on. The format is very similar to the winter tour, and registration forms are available on our web site at www.wheatqualitycouncil.org.