Kansas wheat tour shows significant decline in yields, production


Persistent drought and natural disasters have led to a 25 percent drop in projected yield for hard winter wheat in Kansas.

Farmer David Schemm of Sharon Springs tells Brownfield crop conditions have rapidly declined in western areas of the state. “That plant is definitely atrophying those lower leaves and even some fields that flag leaf, which is so vital to the quality of the plant and the yield that it gets, that some of those flag leaves had already atrophied and were dead.”

Following the Wheat Quality Council’s tour, the average yield projection was 39.7 bushels per acre with a production estimate of 261 million bushels.

He says lower production estimates could tighten the global supply and add volatility to the markets. “We’re concerned about a world situation and honestly feel that responsibility upon our shoulders and the need to be able to produce this wheat out here for a world that needs it especially with the situation with Ukraine and Russia.”

Tour officials expect abandonment to be higher than average at 11 percent and Schemm says “We were starting to see a lot of fields that were already abandoned or tilled under or sprayed and then stopping at field and getting yield counts that were 20 or 25 bushels.” 

He says wheat in central and eastern areas of the state had lower yield estimates, too, but late season rains could pull yields closer to average.

The tour made 550 stops with most fields sampled in Kansas with a few scouted in Nebraska and Oklahoma.

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