Spring Wheat Yields Promising

Day 1 Spring Wheat Tour Estimates 48.9 BPA

Matt Wilde
By  Matthew Wilde , Progressive Farmer Crops Editor
Jay Nord, right, a farmer near Wolverton, Minnesota, scouts for insect pressure in his spring wheat on Day 1 of the Wheat Quality Council's annual Hard Spring Wheat and Durum Tour on Tuesday, July 26. Nord accompanied scouts, such as Kevin Kloberdanz with Grain Craft, who were checking yields and crop quality in his and other fields in the area. (DTN photo by Matthew Wilde)

MANDAN, N.D. (DTN) -- Scouts on Day 1 of the Wheat Quality Council's annual Hard Spring Wheat and Durum Tour assessed 120 spring wheat fields on Tuesday, July 26, in North Dakota and Minnesota and calculated an average estimated weighted yield of 48.9 bushels per acre (bpa). Five durum fields were measured, with an estimated yield of 41.4 bpa.

About 50 scouts mostly assessed fields in southeast and south-central North Dakota for potential production and crop health. Several fields in bordering counties in Minnesota were also checked on the tour's first day of scouting.

Overall, tour participants reported the spring wheat and durum crops are in good shape, although most of the acres were planted in the latter half of May and in June, which is several weeks later than normal. Disease pressure is relatively low, scouts and farmers say, though grasshopper numbers and feeding are a concern in areas.

Ed Kessel, who grows spring wheat near Dickinson, North Dakota, said the first-day yield estimates are right on the money from what he can see on his farm and fields he scouted on the tour. Kessel said after a last year's drought resulting in yields ranging from 4 to 30 bpa on his farm, he's looking forward to combining wheat in a few weeks.

"What a difference a year makes," said Kessel, North Dakota Grain Growers Association first vice president. "It won't be a bumper crop, but it should be better than average. I think my wheat this year should yield between 40 to 50 bushels per acre."

Maintaining and possibly increasing yield potential is dependent on getting timely rains during grain fill and keeping grasshoppers and foliar diseases, such as scab, at bay by spraying when needed. He's spent about 250 hours in the sprayer so far -- 300 hours is normal, he said.

"With $9 (per bushel) wheat, it's hard not to spend the money (and time) spraying. I still have plenty to do yet," Kessel said.

Day 1 tour yield estimates are slightly higher than initial 2022 national spring wheat and durum projections released on July 12 by the USDA. The government projects spring wheat and durum yields at 47 and 40.3 bpa, respectively. Production is estimated at nearly 503 million bushels for spring wheat and 77.2 million bushels for durum wheat.

North Dakota is traditionally the largest spring wheat and durum producer. Last year, state totals were 174.5 million bushels and 19.7 million bushels, respectively. The state's farmers planted 5.4 million acres of spring wheat and 1.05 million acres of durum wheat this year, according to government data. Both planting numbers are up from last year's harvested acres of 5.2 million acres and 820,000 acres, respectively.

The USDA estimates North Dakota's spring wheat yield at a record 51 bpa this year. Kessel said setting a new all-time high is possible. "We could have a few rains in August, though, which isn't normal," he surmised.

Minnesota farmers planted 1.25 million acres of spring wheat this year, up 40,000 acres from 2021. The average yield is estimated at 49 bpa, up 20 bpa from last year.

Jay Nord of Wolverton, Minnesota, planted 400 acres of spring wheat this year. Though the crop was planted late in May, he feels fortunate it's in and has good yield potential considering he didn't get 800 acres of corn planted due to wet conditions.

"I think we're in the 50 bushel-per-acre range," Nord said of his spring wheat. "It looks good now, but the grasshoppers are out."

He finds the tour helpful because it provides a picture of production potential and prices. He didn't forward contract wheat due to late planting.

"I have enough storage to wait and see what prices do after harvest," Nord said.

On Wednesday, July 27, tour scouts will travel through northwest and north central North Dakota. The day will end in Devils Lake.

Dave Green, Wheat Quality Council EVP, discusses Day 1 yield results from the council's annual Hard Spring Wheat and Durum Tour in North Dakota and Minnesota: https://www.dtnpf.com/…

Matthew Wilde can be reached at matt.wilde@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @progressivwilde

Matt Wilde