OMAHA (DTN) -- Scouts finished off the Wheat Quality Council 2021 spring wheat and durum tour late Thursday morning, ending the day at the National Crops Institute in Fargo, North Dakota, for the final tour discussion. The final tour yield for all spring wheat was calculated at 28.9 bushels per acre (bpa) with hard red spring wheat at 29.1 bpa over 257 samples drawn and durum wheat yields at 24.3 bpa over 15 samples.
This was the tour's lowest calculated yield for both crops since 2008. That year, hard red spring wheat yield was calculated at 31.7 bpa, durum at 23.3 bpa and all wheat at 31.3 bpa.
Comparing this year's results to the most recent previous tour, the final totals over the same routes in 2019 were calculated at 43.1 bpa for hard red spring wheat and 32 bpa for durum for an all spring wheat total of 42.6 bpa. The tour was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic.
For Day Three of this year's tour, scouts estimated the average calculated yield at 35.4 bushels per acre (bpa) for hard red spring wheat with 62 samples drawn. No durum fields were sampled Thursday. This was down from 2019's Day Three estimate of 48.6 bpa for HRS wheat.
Charlie Vogel told DTN that he drove on the yellow route Thursday, crossing over into Minnesota. "The nine fields on my route showed excellent quality, but yields varied from 18 bpa to 38 bpa and a 55 bpa field north of Crookston, Minnesota."
Vogel said that, from what he had seen and heard prior to the tour, including what he saw during the tour, "We actually have a good-quality crop of decent test weight and excellent protein. This drought has certainly stressed our wheat crop this year, but there is a difference between a yield hit versus a poor-quality hit."
He added that while yields will be down this year, "We certainly have a marketable protein and test-weight crop from the better areas of the states. Our farmers have a tough year and need any break they can get."
One of the biggest questions being asked by the trade is how many abandoned acres the tour ran into. The scouts only report what fields they measure to determine yield, and just as they drive by harvested fields, they drive by abandoned fields, and there is nothing to report from either.
DTN talked to Darin Jantzi, state statistician, USDA NASS North Dakota Field Office, about how abandoned and hayed spring wheat acres would be accounted for this year by USDA. He said: "Abandoned wheat acres won't be fully known until we collect that data from producers in early September. That is when we collect final acreage and production data once the producers have harvested their small-grain crops."
Jantzi added: "As for the hayed acres, the first opportunity for estimates to be made on abandoned wheat acres being hayed would be in the October (USD) Crop Production report. There is no estimate for hayed grain acres, as they all just show up in the 'Other Hay' acreage and yield forecast. The final 'Other Hay' estimates would be in the Annual Crops Summary published in January."
Editor's Note: DTN would like to thank scouts from the North Dakota Wheat Commission, Red River Farm Network and the Minnesota Wheat Council for their help with comments and numbers from this year's tour.
Mary Kennedy can be reached at email@example.com
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