Participants in this week’s tour of hard red winter wheat fields in Kansas are projecting a potential crop of 313 million bushels, about 37 million bushels less than the state’s five-year average of 350 million bushels.
That estimate is based on a potential average yield of 41 bushels per acre. But Aaron Harries with Kansas Wheat says there will be a tremendous range in yield this year.
“We saw fields in western Kansas that will probably make nothing—and then the fields we saw today (Thursday) in south-central into central Kansas have the potential, some of them, to hit that 80 bushel mark just because they’ve seen plenty of rain and moisture in south-central Kansas,” Harries says. “In fact, we saw a lot of fields today that were standing in water.”
Harries says many Kansas wheat tour veterans were surprised at just how dry it is in western Kansas.
“We talked to one 83-year old farmer who said it’s the driest he’s ever seen it in his lifetime,” Harries says. “Basically the complete absence of topsoil and subsoil moisture is just phenomenal to think about—and it’s very widespread in the western third of the state.”
On a side note, Harries said they drove through near-blizzard conditions on Thursday morning in central Kansas, near Hillsboro. And they were driving in snow again on Thursday afternoon just west of Kansas City.