LINCOLN, NEBRASKA, US — The HRW Virtual Wheat Tour on May 19 included a look at the Nebraska wheat crop. The average of recent estimates across the state’s five regions resulted in a yield estimate of 50.88 bushels per acre, which would generate a total of 42.075 million bushels.

Royce Schaneman, executive director of the Nebraska Wheat Board, presented his team’s findings via a Zoom meeting attended by about 200 viewers.

Topsoil moisture was mostly in good shape outside of the southeast, he said.  The majority of the state received a ½-inch to 1½ inches of rain over the past week. Most Nebraska wheat was in the boot stage, with some jointing in south central region and a handful of fields heading in the southeast and south central regions. Most producers reported only minimal diseases and pests. Latter included some army cutworm in the southern panhandle and southwest corner, but no heavy infestations. Mild leaf spotting was noted in southern Nebraska.

The Nebraska crop is somewhat behind normal pace, Schaneman said, and is very short, likely a result of two to three freeze events in early and mid-April.

In the northern panhandle, on-time planting and good moisture resulted in good emergence into winter. Producer measurements generated bushel-per-acre estimates ranging from 45 to 55 bpa. Some late snowfalls this region don’t appear to have significantly slowed development.

In the southern panhandle, planting was on time to slightly behind normal. Moisture was good but later-planted wheat struggled moving into dormancy.  Producer measurements generated bu-per-acre estimates ranging from 30 to 70 bpa.

In southwest Nebraska, planting conditions were good in the northern part of this region, but wet conditions delayed planting in the southern part. Nonetheless, emergence was good going into early arrival of cold weather in the fall. Producer measurements generated bushel-per-acre estimates ranging from 40 to 60 bpa.

Rain slowed planting in about a quarter of south central Nebraska, resulting in slow emergence for those fields. Producer measurements generated bushel-per-acre estimates ranging from 50 to 60 bpa.

Planting in earnest didn’t take off until mid-October in southeast Nebraska and as a result, there was little growth before winter. This corner of Nebraska, typically the state’s wet spot, is lacking in moisture in 2020. Producer measurements generated bushel-per-acre estimates ranging from 55 to 65 bpa

In an overview of the Nebraska wheat industry, Schaneman said the more than 3,500 wheat farms in Nebraska seeded about 890,000 acres of hard red winter, 15,000 acres of hard red spring and 30,000 acres of hard white, the latter almost exclusively under contract. Nebraska typically exports about 50% of its crop, which in 2019 saw 55 million bushels harvested. Of the state’s four flour mills, one is certified organic. There are six commercial bakeries in Nebraska.