MANHATTAN, KANSAS, US — Participants on the Wheat Quality Council’s annual Hard Red Winter Wheat tour saw the effects of drought on the Kansas wheat crop and forecast an average yield and final production below that of the latest US Department of Agriculture estimates issued May 12 and well below a year earlier.

The 84 tour participants at their wrap-up meeting on May 19 forecast an average yield in Kansas of 39.7 bushels an acre with final production around 261 million bushels. Those estimates compare with last year’s tour estimate for the 2021 crop of 58.1 bushels per acre, which was the highest in records back to 2000, and production of 365 million bushels. The USDA’s initial 2022 forecast Kansas yield was 39 bushels per acre and production of 271 million bushels, which compared with the USDA’s 2021 estimate of 52 bushels per acre and production of 364 million bushels. 

This year’s tour made 550 stops from Tuesday morning through Thursday morning. 

The impact of severe drought was evident in western and central parts of the state, but some participants were surprised at how far east they had to go before seeing a noticeable improvement in the crop. Disease impact was minimal as the drought had kept most wheat diseases at bay.