Tag Archives: Wheat Tour

The Winter Wheat Tour made it’s final turn back to the north, to return to Manhattan where it all started just two days prior. Traveling through the flint hills wheat fields were limited, but most cars were able to take in several stops. The major note coming along with the fields was saturated wet conditions. K-State Agronomist Romulo Lollato commented, “The wet fields could lead to more disease pressure if conditions continue.”

The first wheat field of the final day. (RRN Photo)
Taking some of the final measurements of the 2019 Winter Wheat Tour (RRN Photo)
Back in Manhattan the tour ended at the International Grain Building on K-State’s campus. The three-day average yield for the fields that were calculated was 47.2 bushels an acre. While an estimated 7 million acres of wheat were planted in the fall, the Kansas wheat crop varies in condition based on planting date. Wheat that was planted prior to October rains looks good while wheat planted when farmers could get back in fields after the rains is not faring as well. What Mother Nature has in plan for the wheat crop still remains unseen, but the tour captures a moment in time for the yield potential for fields across the state. Tour participants saw wheat that was significantly behind schedule, with most areas a week to 10 days behind normal development.
Giving the final car updates in Manhattan (RRN photo)
Many tour participants had never stepped foot in a wheat field before. These are the millers, bakers, food processors and traders who buy the wheat that Kansas farmers grow. If these fields make it to harvest, the resulting crop will go into breads, but also a number of other food items, from snack cakes to donuts to seasonings, batters and coatings for fish, chicken and appetizers.
Farmers were also in attendance so customers were able to interact with the men and women who produce the product they purchase. Gary Millershaski, a farmer from Lakin, is a wheat tour veteran who believes in the value of the opportunity to get these customers out in the field (and to get their boots a little muddy, too).
“The connections that we make on this tour are unlike anything else,” said Millershaski. “Having producers and our customers driving around in the same vehicles, there’s just a lot of information that gets shared both ways. It helps them learn about the challenges of production and the frustration of the prices we get, and we get to learn about the changing dynamics between them and their customers. It helps to put faces to the wheat they receive. We’re not a number to them after the tour… We’re real.”
The official tour projection for total production of wheat to be harvested in Kansas is 306.5 million bushels. This number is calculated based on the average of estimated predictions from tour participants who gathered information from 469 fields across the state.
Scouts reported seeing widely varying wheat conditions (due, in large part, to planting date) along the route. While there were sightings of rust and other disease in south central Kansas, many stops saw signs of nitrogen deficiency.
In addition, scouts from Nebraska and Colorado met the group in Colby, Kansas, to give reports from their states. The estimate for the Nebraska wheat crop is 47.4 million bushels, down from 49.5 million bushels last year. The estimated yield average is 44 bushels per acre. In Colorado, the estimated yield was 46.5 bushels per acre. Production in Colorado is estimated at 97.2 million bushels, up from 70.5 million bushels last year. Oklahoma reported that the state’s production is estimated at 119.27 million bushels with 37.38 bushels per acre. Approximately 4.2 million acres were seeded last fall.
Scott Foster invites Clay Patton into the studio’s to talk about his trip: http://bit.ly/2VaMZJi

Day two of the 2019 Hard Winter Wheat Tour is the longest and for some the most grueling of the wheat tour. Starting in Colby Kansas and taking several routs, one of which passes through Oklahoma, all 20 cars and nearly 80 tour members ended the day in Wichita.

For my car, Blue Route Car 3, our odometer rolled 457 miles at the end of the day.

Day 2 Blue Route 2019 Hard Winter Wheat Tour

Heavy fog and rain plagued the beginning of the trip and kept us from evaluating fields until near Syracuse Kansas. Overall South West Kansas looked to have a very strong stand of winter wheat that is healthy. Little disease pressure was noted and most of the wheat was in the flag or almost boot stage.

Cracks on top of the ground show that the top soil could use a little moisture. Just below the surface though the current soil profile looks to be fairly wet. (RRN Photo)

The next field to tour turned out to be a story of two fields near Big Bow Kansas. On the East side of the road was a thick and lush stand of winter wheat, Row spacing was a little unusual at 16 inches compared to the 7.5 & 10 inch rows we had seen up to this point. On the West side of the road the stand was thinner and more discolored. Plus saw fairly heavy weed pressure from mustard weeds and cheat grass.

The East side of the road wheat field at Big Bow KS. (RRN Photo)
The West side of the road field near Big Bow Kansas. (RRN Photo)

As we rolled on we took our culture stop at the Dalton Gang Hideout in Mead Kansas. This is a nice quick travel stop for those that are fascinated by old west outlaws. The Dalton Gang was a notorious train robbing gang that met their fate when they tried to rob two banks in Coffeville Kansas in the late 19th century.

The Dalton Gang Hideout Museum Meade Kansas. (RRN Photo)

As we headed further east our yield estimates started to drop with thinner stands of wheat. Then in Clark County near Protection Kansas we saw our first wheat heads. Yield estimates stayed consistent and seeing heads made the overall count easier to conduct.

Green wheat heads started to emerge near Protection Kansas. (RRN Photo)
The stand was fairly tall, but looked to have good stalk strength. (RRN Photo)

The final field of the day near Danville is the only one that showed disease pressure with Smut showing up on several plants throughout the field.

Overall on day 2 our car made 11 stops with an average yield estimate of 44 bushels per acre.

The entire tour made 200 stops and had an average yield estimate of 47.6 bushels per acre. The two day running total came to 440 stops with an average of 47.2 bushels per acre. Looking historically this tour is 1 bpa behind the 2018 tour and 5.4 bpa ahead of the 2018 tour.

The third and final leg will occur today and end back where it all started in Manhattan. There all estimates will be taken in and the tour will produce it’s estimate for the 2019 Kansas Winter Wheat Crop.

Justin Gilpin has the full day 2 recap here: https://post.futurimedia.com/krvnam/playlist/wheat-tour-justin-gilpin-recaps-day-2-6633.html

Claire Hutchins, US Wheat Associates Market Analyst, discusses why it’s important for her to be on the wheat tour: https://post.futurimedia.com/krvnam/playlist/wheat-tour-is-about-education-6634.html