OMAHA (DTN) -- As scouts headed out Tuesday morning on Day One of the 2021 Wheat Quality Council Hard Spring Wheat and Durum Tour, they were likely full of anticipation as to what they would see and how bad things would look given the extreme drought conditions the wheat has suffered this crop year. Jim Peterson, North Dakota Wheat Commission Marketing director, told DTN Tuesday evening that, in general, people had expected worse conditions in the east, but there were pockets of good and bad.
Overall, the tour made 100 stops in hard red spring wheat fields with a calculated average yield of 29.5 bushels per acre and four stops in durum wheat fields with an average calculated yield of 26.5 bpa. On Day One of the 2019 tour, HRS yield was calculated at 45.6 bpa and durum was calculated at 40.2 bpa. No tour was held in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"In general, most people said kernel size was decent, but again, there were pockets of smaller kernels that would affect test weight, which is one of the biggest concerns," Peterson said of scouts' field observations Tuesday. "With spring wheat as a No. 1 grade including 58 pounds, the test-weight issue is one of the biggest concerns this year, especially for our overseas customers."
Peterson said his route started in Fargo and headed toward Mayport and then north to Carrington, dropping south through Napoleon and ending in Mandan. "Timely rains were critical, and you could see the effects of that in some of the fields, and then in the poor ones, the heat took its toll on the moisture-starved wheat."
Peterson added the east seemed like it maybe hasn't been as stressed as the west, and he was pleased to see the overall quality was holding up. "Still, the yields were variable across the state so far on Day One, and it was obvious the poor fields had already been hayed off. We saw some grasshoppers, and so far, they haven't been as bad as we are hearing in Montana."
In its weekly Crop Progress report Monday, USDA NASS estimated the North Dakota spring wheat condition as of Sunday, July 25, as 28% very poor, 33% poor, 28% fair, 10% good and 1% excellent. Durum wheat condition was estimated at 13% very poor, 24% poor, 30% fair, 28% good and 5% excellent.
Day Two will start with scouts heading north out of Mandan and crossing the state over to Devil's Lake.
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