Grain News

High Expectations For Kansas Wheat Production

Date Posted: May 10, 2012

Manhattan, KS—If the annual Wheat Quality Tour forecast is correct, the 2012 Kansas wheat crop will total 403.6 million bushels.

The estimate represents a dramatic increase over the 2011 crop, which yielded a total of 278 million bushels.

If realized, this would be the largest crop since 2003.

The Wheat Quality Tour, sponsored by the Wheat Quality Council, featured 100 participants who collectively traveled four pre-determined routes across the state of Kansas the week of May 1.

They made more than 1,000 field stops throughout Kansas, southern Nebraska and northern Oklahoma, evaluating yield potential and crop quality along the way.

The Kansas production estimate was made at the Kansas City Board of Trade on May 3.

At the time, crop scouts estimated the average yield per acre would total 49.1 bushels.

That would be the highest average yield since 1998.

On May 10, the National Ag Statistics Service released its own estimate for Kansas: 387 million bushels, and a per acre yield of 43 bushels, 8 bushels more than last year.

The NASS estimate is considered by the wheat industry to be the more credible of the two.

Both estimates are a snapshot of the Kansas wheat crop at a moment in time, says Justin Gilpin, chief executive officer of Kansas Wheat, the cooperative agreement between the Kansas Wheat Commission and Kansas Association of Wheat Growers.

"These estimates fall in line with what the wheat trade has suspected all along: this could be a better than average Kansas wheat crop in terms of bushels produced," Gilpin says.

Signs of stress are showing up in the Kansas wheat crop, however. Pockets of freeze-damaged wheat are appearing throughout the state; also, lack of measurable precipitation is taking a toll.

Southern Kansas wheat is finishing grain-fill; in northern Kansas the crop is at the latter stages of flowering and beginning to fill.

The crop uses about three-tenths of an inch of precipitation per day at these stages.

"We still have several weeks to go before harvest.

"If the crop continues to be stressed by disease pressure and lack of rainfall, the crop could deteriorate.

"On the other hand, the combination of mild temperatures and timely rains could help the crop achieve even greater yield potential," Gilpin says.

"Still, if realized, 387 million bushels is a nice crop for Kansas."

The May 10 NASS numbers pegged the U.S. winter wheat crop at 1.69 billion bushels, up 13 percent from 2011.

The area expected to be harvested for grain or seed totals 35.6 million acres, up 10 percent from last year.

Based on May 1conditions, the United States yield is forecast at 47.6 bushels per acre, up 1.4 bushels from last year.

Hard Red Winter, at 1.03 billion bushels, is up 32 percent from 2011.

White Winter is down 9 percent from last year and now totals 233 million bushels. Of this total, 14.1 million bushels are Hard White and 219 million bushels Soft White.

For more information, call 785-539-0255.

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