2012 Wheat Quality Council
Hard Spring Wheat & Durum Tour Completed

Summary by Ben Handcock, Executive Vice President

Hard Spring Wheat & Durum Results
Ben Handcock
Executive Vice President
PO Box 966, Pierre, SD 57501

The Wheat Quality Council hard spring and durum tour was conducted July 23-26 in North Dakota plus parts of South Dakota and Minnesota. (Tour Map) There were 71 participants this year, and 49 of them were first-timers on this tour.

The 377 spring wheat fields surveyed averaged 44.9 bushels per acre, up from 41.5 bushels last year. The 26 durum fields averaged 42.4 bushels, up from 31.8 bushels last year. We evaluated 18 hard winter fields and they averaged 45.8 bushels, down from 47.0 one year ago.

The average for all 421 field stops was 44.8 bushels per acre compared to 41.1 last year and the five year average of 40.9 bushels. (Tour Results)

Day One covered the southern half of North Dakota, southwestern Minnesota and northeast/north central South Dakota. Yields were good on all routes again this year. The highest yielding field was estimated at 87.1 bushels and the lowest was 12.1, with a day one average of 42.9 bushels versus last year at 39.5 bushels. Tour members going into the far western areas reported slightly lower yields than elsewhere. Harvesting was going strong on Southern routes.

Day Two covered northwest and north central North Dakota. We found good durum fields in the far northwest this year. We had 23 durum stops compared to 27 a year ago. The yields were good again as we moved along the routes. We had a spring wheat high for the day of 86.2 bushels, a low of 14.5 with a day two average of 45.5 bushels. Last year these routes averaged 42.1 bushels.

Day Three concluded the tour by covering north central/north east North Dakota and north west/west central Minnesota. We had a huge contingent visiting the ND Mill so fewer stops were made. As is usually the case, this was the highest yielding area of the tour. The day three average was estimated at 48.6 bushels, compared to 45.2 one year ago. Our high was 77.5 and our low was 27 bushels per acre.

My personal observations: I thought this was a very good wheat crop. It is not the record breaker of 2009 or 2010, but is the THIRD highest yield we have ever predicted. The unusual thing about this crop is the earliness of its harvest. Much of the wheat was already cut on the southernmost routes. The planting was done very early this year in the entire region and the wheat appears to have matured enough to have escaped the extreme heat that was experienced.

We are usually evaluating the crop a month away from harvest, but not this year. Wheat was nearly ready for harvest on all parts of our routes. Not much can happen to this crop except a hail storm.

There was very little disease noticed this year. It is hard to detect disease on ripe wheat, but the wheat appeared to have come through in great shape. I shelled heads in every field and noticed very little that would have lighter test weights. We would also expect higher proteins due to the heat stress on the crop.

Once again our results are not official. The North Dakota Ag Statistics Service will publish official results on August 12. Watch for them and see how we compare. We have been very close for the past ten years or so. We are not as scientific as they are, we simply overwhelm them with the number of fields we visit, and our formula provided by NDSU has been working very well.

Thanks to all of you who came, drove cars or helped in any way to make this tour a success. The newcomers have told me they learned a great deal, had a lot of fun and would love to do it again. We look forward to 2013.

Please mark the Wheat Quality Council 2013 Annual Meeting dates on your calendar. It should be interesting evaluating all the new wheat lines grown this year. The dates are February 12-14 at the Embassy Suites in Kansas City.

The dates for the hard spring and durum tour in 2013 are July 22-25.