2013 Wheat Tour, Day Three

Aaron Harries, Kansas Wheat’s Director of Marketing, reports from the Kansas City Board of Trade in Kansas City, Missouri:

The results are in, and the 2013 Winter Wheat Tour participants have pegged the Kansas wheat crop at 313.8 million bushels, well below last year’s actual total of 360 million bushels. And the five year average of 341 million bushels.

Seeing diverse conditions throughout the three-day tour, participants also expect abandonment of 18% of the state’s planted wheat acres, up from the yearly average of about 9% abandonment. Earlier this spring, USDA estimated that Kansas farmers planted 9.3 million acres of wheat last fall. Thus, an 18% abandonment would mean roughly 7.7 million acres of wheat would be harvested in Kansas.

Day 3 of the annual Winter Wheat Tour was met with brutal weather conditions, including the first recorded snowstorm in Kansas I May since 1907.

As such, just 29 field stops were made by tour participants, who traveled from Wichita to Kansas City for the tour wrap-up. Today’s average yield estimate for these fields is 52.3 bushels per acre, and ranged from 28 to 81 bushels per acre. Last year, the Day 3 yield estimate was 57.5 bushels per acre.

In the last three days, 570 field stops were made. The average yield from all those stops is 41.1 bushels per acre, well below last year’s average yield of 49.1 bushels per acre, based on 608 field stops. In 2011, the average yield estimate was 37.4 bushels per acre, from 561 field stops.

During today’s drive, participants were treated to snow and sleet, especially in Marion and Morris counties. Further to the south, along Hwy. 54 in Butler and Greenwood counties and east in Franklin County, the conditions were cold and wet, but there was good wheat to be found.

All the yield estimates from the last three days assume decent moisture and average temperature prospects from now until harvest. The crop is several weeks behind normal in terms of maturity; Monday’s Crop Report from Kansas Ag Statistics indicated that just 1% of the crop has headed out, compared to 70% last year and 19 normal. Cold temperatures like we’ve been having will slow down the wheat crop even more.

This could be the last time the Winter Wheat Tour concludes at the Kansas City Board of Trade building in Kansas City. The CME Group, which bought the KCBOT last year, has put the iconic building up for sale.

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