KANSAS CITY — Participants in the 55th Wheat Quality Council tour of top-producer Kansas finished their first day in the field Tuesday with an average yield estimate of 53.6 bus an acre, the Kansas City Board of Trade said.

The current estimate was sharply higher than the first-day estimate last year of 40 bus an acre.
Observations confirmed expectations that the hard red winter wheat crop was maturing ahead of schedule because of a generally warmer weather pattern. Participants saw drought conditions in some western counties, as well as disease in various locations, especially to the east of Manhattan, Kas. The most noticeable diseases were stripe rust, barley yellow dwarf, wheat streak mosaic and smut, the K.C.B.T. said.

The Wheat Tour spent its first day fanning out over six different routes beginning in Manhattan and finishing in Colby, Kas. Today, the tour will go from Colby to Wichita. On the final day of the tour, the group will conclude their trek at the Kansas City Board of Trade in the early afternoon. At that time, they will offer an overall estimate of 2012 yield for the state, the leading U.S. producer of hard red winter wheat.