Tour forecasts a Kansas wheat crop at 288.5 million bus

by Jay Sjerven
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KANSAS CITY — Participants in the Wheat Quality Council’s 2015 Kansas wheat tour gathered at the Plaza Branch of the Kansas City Public Library on May 7 and forecast an average wheat yield in Kansas this year of 35.9 bus per acre. The forecast was based on 659 field visits across the state. The projection compared with a tour forecast for the 2014 crop at 33.2 bus per acre, the initial U.S. Department of Agriculture yield forecast for the 2014 Kansas crop issued on May 9, 2014, at 31 bus per acre and the U.S.D.A.’s final estimate for the 2014 crop at 28 bus per acre.

The recent five-year average Kansas wheat yield was 37.6 bus per acre with a recent high of 42 bus per acre in 2012. The record Kansas wheat yield was 49 bus per acre in 1998. The 2014 wheat yield at 28 bus per acre was the lowest since 26 bus per acre in 1995.

Several of the tour’s 92 participants provided wheat production forecasts on the basis of their observations. The average of these forecasts was 288.5 million bus. This compared with a tour forecast for the 2014 Kansas wheat crop at 260.7 million bus, the U.S.D.A’s initial Kansas wheat crop forecast for 2014 issued in May 2014 at 260.4 million bus and the U.S.D.A.’s final Kansas crop estimate for 2014 at 246.4 million bus.

The Kansas crop tour forecasts were issued just five days before the U.S.D.A. was scheduled to release its initial winter wheat crop forecasts for 2015, including its initial forecast for the Kansas wheat crop. The forecast will be contained in the U.S.D.A’s May Crop Production report, which will be issued on May 12.

The 2015 wheat tour began on Tuesday, May 5, in northwest Kansas, where conditions were viewed as slightly worse than in 2014. Crop scouts projected average yield for this area at 34.3 bus per acre compared with last year’s tour forecast for the region at 34.7 bus per acre.

As crop scouts visited fields across southwest and central Kansas during the second day of the tour, conditions improved markedly. The day-two average yield forecast covering those areas was 34.5 bus per acre compared with a tour forecast for the same area last year at 32.8 bus per acre.

As was expected, central and eastern Kansas, where rain has been abundant in recent weeks, yield prospects were the highest. On the basis of 70 field visits on the third day of the tour, scouts forecast an average yield for wheat in this part of Kansas at 48.9 bus per acre compared with a tour forecast for the same area last year at 37.8 bus per acre.

Participants indicated in areas where rain has been adequate or even excessive, there was disease pressure noticed, including stripe rust.

Scouts estimated harvest to begin in four to six weeks.

Separately, Oklahoma field observers organized by the Oklahoma Grain & Feed Association forecast average wheat yield in Oklahoma at 29.4 bus per acre. This compared with the U.S.D.A.’s final yield estimate for the state’s 2014 crop at 17 bus per acre.

The Oklahoma crop scouts forecast the 2015 Oklahoma crop at about 111.8 million bus compared with 47.6 million bus in 2014 and 105.4 million bus in 2013.
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