Wheat tour forecasts Kansas crop at 256.7 million bus

by Ron Sterk
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KANSAS CITY — Participants on the annual Wheat Quality Council’s hard winter wheat tour forecast Kansas production at 256.7 million bus in 2011, down 23% from 333.5 million bus forecast by tour members in 2010.

The 2010 and 2011 tour production forecasts compared with actual Kansas harvest reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture of 360 million bus in 2010.

Tour members forecast the 2011 Kansas wheat yield to average 37.4 bus per acre compared with a tour estimate of 40.7 bus and an actual yield of 45 bus in 2010. The 2011 yield estimate is the lowest since the tour estimate of 37.3 bus an acre in 2006, when the actual yield was 32 bus an acre and production was 291.2 million bus. Wheat harvest was at least five weeks away, tour participants said.

The low estimate for 2011 was the result of drought in southwestern portions of Kansas. Dry conditions also have reduced production prospects in nearby states. Tour participants forecast winter wheat production in Texas between 40 million and 50 million bus (U.S.D.A. 127.5 million bus in 2010), Oklahoma around 67.7 million bus (U.S.D.A. 120.9 million), Colorado 73 million to 79 million bus (U.S.D.A. 105.75 million) and Nebraska 63 million to 64 million bus (U.S.D.A. 64.1 million).

The tour included 73 participants from the grain and baking industries, government, universities and media that made 561 stops from May 2-5. Fifty-five tour participants offered production estimates.

The U.S.D.A. said winter wheat planted area in Kansas last fall for harvest in 2011 was 8.8 million acres, compared with 8.4 million in 2010 and 9.3 million in 2009. The first U.S.D.A. survey-based winter wheat production estimate will be released May 11.

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