KANSAS CITY – Participants on the annual Wheat Quality Council’s hard winter wheat tour forecast Kansas production at 333.5 million bus in 2010, nearly identical to the 333.3 million bus estimated by tour members in 2009.

The 2010 production forecast compared with actual harvest reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture of 369.6 million bus in 2009.

Tour members forecast the 2010 Kansas wheat yield to average 40.7 bus per acre compared with a tour estimate of 40.8 bus per acre and an actual yield of 42 bus per acre in 2009. Yield estimates ranged from a low of 16 bus an acre to a high of 107 bus an acre for specific fields.

Harvest in Kansas was expected to begin in about five weeks.

The tour included about 60 participants from the grain and baking industries, government, universities and media that evaluated 455 fields from May 4-6. Fifty-six tour participants offered production estimates.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said winter wheat planted area in Kansas last fall for harvest in 2010 was 8.6 million acres compared with 9.3 million a year earlier. The first U.S.D.A. production estimate will be released May 11.