Revived but Limited: Winter Wheat Tour Day 1 Update

This year’s 2023 Hard Winter Wheat Quality Tour is underway and conditions are varying drastically.

Here is a look at day one results. The tour made 318 stops and saw 29.8 bushels per acre. This is down drastically from last year’s numbers, which also was not a great year of 39.5 bushels per acre on 248 stops.

Kansas, a top-producing state, has been facing a record drought as you can see on the most recent drought monitor. Most of the state is covered in the worst level with more than a million people in some level of dryness.

Clay Patton with KRVN, the Rural Radio Network, has been giving us updates on his journey and tweeted this photo out of a field near Clay Center, Kansas. He says the tour started off strong there with 49 bushels per acre, but conditions got increasingly worse as they got into Nebraska.

Tanner Ehmke with CoBank is also sharing his findings on Twitter and they do not look good. He shared this photo from Ellsworth, Colorado which was the third stop of the tour. He says the crop has had significant freeze damage and is only expected to put out 38 bushels per acre.

The winter wheat belt finally saw some much-needed rain and it helped revive a portion of the crop, but as USDA Meteorologist, Brad Rippey, says, in a limited fashion.

“We did see improvements in condition across much of the Great Plains. So, the national number, as of May 14th, we are seeing 29% of the U.S. crop rated good to excellent, but if you look at the very poor to poor categories, we did see a modest improvement. Now 41% are very poor to poor. That is an improvement from last week’s 44%,” says Rippey.

The rains further slowed down progress for spring wheat planting, but it did lend a helping hand for the crop that has been planted. Right now 40 percent of the crop is in the ground, which is down significantly from the 57 percent five-year average.

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