What’s in Store for 2012 Spring Wheat Tour?


by Pam Smith, Crops Technology Editor

DECATUR, Ill. (DTN) — Scouts on this year’s Hard Red Spring Wheat and Durum Tour will likely see combines running as both winter and spring wheat are maturing early this year. “Some people are going to see things they’ve never seen before on this tour,” said Ben Handcock, executive director of the Wheat Quality Council. “The crop is running a good three weeks ahead of schedule.”

The Dakotas have not been as dry as the rest of the grain belt, but Handcock said temperatures have been hitting above 90 degrees and above with regularity. “That’s pretty hot when the wheat is ripening,” Handcock told DTN in a phone interview.

Last year an unusually rainy spring delayed planting in North Dakota and the crop was late maturing. Many areas never got planted.

“South Dakota should see their crop totally harvested by the end of the week,” Handcock said. “There’s some winter wheat along the southern border of North Dakota and harvesting has already started there. A little spring wheat has also been harvested in southern North Dakota.”

Handcock said the South Dakota winter wheat was a bin buster — yielding from 40 bushels per acre to 100 bushels per acre. Spring wheat yields have been slightly off par — yielding 30 bushels per acre to 40 bushels per acre — about five to 10 bushels less than normal. “Protein and test weight look good,” he added.

Protein tends to increase as the crop becomes stressed. “I’m guessing protein in North Dakota may come in above 14{6b02cb02835b82b7f756ddf6717aaab7139b350de274ea97f5b53eb230607107} and we might see a little lighter test weight.

The tour kicks off its scouting in Fargo, N.D., on Tuesday morning with scouts fanning out into western Minnesota and northern South Dakota on their way to Mandan, N.D. The second day of scouting covers western and northwestern North Dakota, getting within a few miles of the Montana and Canadian borders before ending in Devils Lake, N.D. Scouts will cover the northeastern corner of the state on Thursday, ending in Fargo. The tour will release yield estimates Tuesday and Wednesday evening and will give an estimate of the average yield and size of North Dakota’s crop Thursday afternoon.

Scouts stop in fields to take measurements, which they plug into a formula used to estimate yield. The sell-out tour will include a cross section of the wheat industry — bakers, farmers, millers, grain traders and journalists.

Despite the lowest planted area since 1982/84, USDA reports expect HRS wheat production to produce a larger crop than last year. USDA forecasts HRS production at 11.8 million metric tons, up 9{6b02cb02835b82b7f756ddf6717aaab7139b350de274ea97f5b53eb230607107} from last year but 13{6b02cb02835b82b7f756ddf6717aaab7139b350de274ea97f5b53eb230607107} below the five-year average. USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) expects North Dakota’s HRS yields will average 40 bushels per acre, up from 30.5 bushels per acre in 2011/12. North Dakota produces about half of all HRS, so greater yields could offset the reduced acreage.

Most of the spring wheat production area is north of where other spring-related crops are suffering from heat and drought. The U.S. HRS crop has headed, and USDA’s latest conditions report shows that 65{6b02cb02835b82b7f756ddf6717aaab7139b350de274ea97f5b53eb230607107} of the crop is in good-to-excellent condition with 27{6b02cb02835b82b7f756ddf6717aaab7139b350de274ea97f5b53eb230607107} in fair condition as of July 15.

The 2012 durum crop was also hit hard by delayed planting and flooding and represented the lowest durum production since 1988/89. USDA estimates U.S. production will increase 62{6b02cb02835b82b7f756ddf6717aaab7139b350de274ea97f5b53eb230607107} in 2012/13 to 2.23 MMT. North Dakota is the top durum-producing state and estimates of harvested acreage for 2012/13 now stand at nearly double the 2011/12 number and yields are expected to improve from 25.5 bushels per acre to 31.0 bushels per acre, according to NASS.

DTN Senior Analyst Darin Newsom will be watching the tour results closely. “The expected increase in production in HRS wheat is projected to be largely offset by increased demand,” said Newsom. “This puts more emphasis on the recent decline in weekly crop condition ratings — meaning the market could pay close attention to the result of the tour.

“Demand for durum is also expected to increase, though the projected 14-million-bushel increase in domestic ending stocks seems to give the crop some margin for error,” Newsom added.

You can follow reporter Pam Smith on Twitter (@PamSmithDTN) for field-by-field observations and estimates. Nightly updates can be found in DTN Ag News and in the Top Stories section.


© Copyright 2012 DTN/The Progressive Farmer, A Telvent Brand. All rights reserved.

Posted with DTN Permission by Haylie Shipp


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