Thursday, July 27, 2017  
 
Charts |  Futures |  Options |  Portfolio |  Weather 
 Home
 Headline News & Commentary
 Weather Station
 Futures & Cash Prices
 Local Grain Bids
 Admin Login
 
- DTN Headline News
Spring Wheat Tour Day 2
Thursday, July 27, 2017 6:39AM CDT
By Emily Unglesbee
DTN Staff Reporter
and
Mary Kennedy
DTN Cash Grains Analyst

ROCKVILLE, Md. (DTN) -- The effects of North Dakota's extreme drought conditions remained visible as the Hard Spring Wheat and Durum Tour ventured through central, north-central and northwest regions of the state Wednesday.

Crop scouts visited 225 fields and calculated an average overall yield of 35.7 bushels per acre (bpa), compared to 197 fields and 46.5 bpa last year. That brings the two-day total average yield to 37.2 bpa, down from 44.8 bpa last year.

Of the 225 fields sampled Wednesday, 188 were hard red spring, 34 were durum, and three were winter wheat. Hard red spring wheat fields alone averaged 35.8 bpa, down from 46.9 bpa last year.

This year's dry conditions have forced the wheat tour leaders to take special measures to account for the high number of abandoned fields, as well as properly calculate the yield of drought-damaged wheat fields, scouts and tour leaders told DTN.

DROUGHT DRAGS DOWN YIELD

Months of little to no rain have left many wheat fields stunted and low-yielding, wheat tour scouts said.

Chiodo Commodities broker Kevin Ernst's route zig-zagged through the central counties of North Dakota, where yields averaged 29.8 bpa, with fields about two weeks from harvest. Last year, that same route averaged 42.2 bpa.

"As we moved deeper into Sheridan [County], we definitely saw more drought conditions as plant height is below the knee and spikelet numbers decline," Ernst said.

On Twitter, some scouts' photos showed fields with calculated yields as low as 5 and 8 bpa.

The wheat tour organizers took care to show scouts how to accurately measure drought-stricken wheat plants, said Wheat Quality Council executive vice president Dave Green. That means splitting open heads and checking to see if there is actually a kernel inside, in addition to counting stems, rows and spikelets, he said.

"The wheat plant does not want shriveled-up children," he explained. "It wants healthy, plump children. So if it only has so much water and it has to sacrifice some kernels for the others, that's what it does."

Philip Volk, a farmer and board member of the North Dakota Wheat Commission, said scouts on his route in central North Dakota were careful to count out worthless kernels.

"We were told that the ones that are just a sliver, we can't count them as a kernel, because they're going to be dockage or blown out the back of the combine in the harvesting process," he said.

BETTER WHEAT NORTH AND EAST

Yields improved a bit as scouts moved eastward, toward their destination of Devils Lake, North Dakota, Green said. His car headed due north from Bismarck to Minot, before turning east.

"We saw some bad wheat here today," he said. "But it's perking up as we move east." By mid-afternoon, however, his route was still averaging 22 bpa, compared to 61.8 bpa last year.

Routes that ventured farther north and neared the Canadian border tended to find slightly better conditions and higher yields, as well -- but more disease.

"There is definitely more moisture in the north compared to the south," said Ed Kessel, a farmer and second vice president of the North Dakota Grain Growers Association. Kessel's car of scouts found four durum fields ranging from 30 bpa to 60 bpa in north-central counties.

"I am surprised by the disease pressure -- tan spot, rust -- and also the insect pressure," Kessel added.

GRAPPLING WITH ABANDONMENT AND HISTORY

Because they will not be taken to harvest, abandoned and baled wheat fields generally aren't incorporated into yield estimates for either the wheat tour or USDA.

USDA will account for those fields eventually, said Dean Groskurth, regional director of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service (NASS) Northern Plains field office. "In December, we will collect the baled wheat acres," he told DTN.

The tour didn't want to completely discount zeroed out fields, either, Green said.

"Normally all we do is publish the yield," he explained. "But this year we have all the routes make an estimate on the percentage abandonment they saw on the route they took. At the end, we're going to present that to everyone, and they can make their own decision on how it pencils in for the whole state."

So far, abandonment estimates have ranged widely, Volk said. "Some think abandonment could be as high as 30% to 40%, others say just 10%," he said.

This year has also spurred comparisons to the historic 1988 drought among participants and the state's farmers, Volk added.

Although the '88 drought was far more widespread and damaging, North Dakota's spring wheat crop experienced similar stress. In 1988, North Dakota farmers harvested nearly 2 million fewer acres and produced 60% less spring wheat and durum than the year before, according to USDA's 1988 Crop Production reports.

Thursday is the third and final day of the spring wheat tour, and scouts will sample fields in northeastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota before ending the day in Fargo. There, they will release final calculated yield averages for the three-day tour.

Emily Unglesbee can be reached at Emily.unglesbee@dtn.com

Follow Emily Unglesbee on Twitter @Emily_Unglesbee

Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com

Follow Mary Kennedy on Twitter @MaryCKenn

(ES/AG)


blog iconDTN Blogs & Forums
Technically Speaking
Darin Newsom
DTN Senior Analyst
Sunday, July 16, 2017 3:08PM CDT
Sunday, July 16, 2017 3:05PM CDT
Sunday, July 16, 2017 3:03PM CDT
Fundamentally Speaking
Joel Karlin
DTN Contributing Analyst
Thursday, July 27, 2017 10:26AM CDT
Wednesday, July 26, 2017 10:12AM CDT
Thursday, July 20, 2017 11:11AM CDT
DTN Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor
Thursday, July 27, 2017 9:47AM CDT
Wednesday, July 26, 2017 10:52AM CDT
Tuesday, July 25, 2017 2:05PM CDT
Minding Ag's Business
Marcia Taylor
DTN Executive Editor
Friday, July 21, 2017 12:20PM CDT
Friday, July 7, 2017 9:36AM CDT
Wednesday, June 21, 2017 2:00PM CDT
DTN Ag Weather Forum
Bryce Anderson
DTN Ag Meteorologist and DTN Analyst
Tuesday, July 25, 2017 2:27PM CDT
Thursday, July 20, 2017 4:40PM CDT
Tuesday, July 18, 2017 2:35PM CDT
DTN Production Blog
Pam Smith
Crops Technology Editor
Tuesday, July 18, 2017 4:49PM CDT
Thursday, July 6, 2017 1:22PM CDT
Friday, June 9, 2017 3:34PM CDT
Harrington's Sort & Cull
John Harrington
DTN Livestock Analyst
Friday, July 21, 2017 1:23PM CDT
Friday, July 14, 2017 1:03PM CDT
Friday, June 30, 2017 2:38PM CDT
South America Calling
Alastair Stewart
South America Correspondent
Wednesday, July 26, 2017 10:41AM CDT
Thursday, June 29, 2017 6:21PM CDT
Thursday, June 22, 2017 5:47PM CDT
An Urban’s Rural View
Urban Lehner
Editor Emeritus
Monday, July 24, 2017 2:40PM CDT
Monday, July 17, 2017 12:11PM CDT
Tuesday, July 11, 2017 8:09AM CDT
Machinery Chatter
Jim Patrico
Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Monday, July 17, 2017 5:08PM CDT
Wednesday, July 12, 2017 4:04PM CDT
Monday, July 3, 2017 1:08PM CDT
Canadian Markets
Cliff Jamieson
Canadian Grains Analyst
Wednesday, July 26, 2017 6:13PM CDT
Tuesday, July 25, 2017 4:42PM CDT
Monday, July 24, 2017 4:51PM CDT
Editor’s Notebook
Greg D. Horstmeier
DTN Editor-in-Chief
Monday, June 26, 2017 8:01AM CDT
Friday, June 2, 2017 9:41AM CDT
Thursday, May 25, 2017 12:09PM CDT
 
Copyright DTN. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Powered By DTN