WICHITA, KANSAS, US — Wheat scouts on May 15 estimated a larger bushels-per-acre yield estimate for western and south central Kansas wheat production in 2024 despite the drought stress they witnessed on routes along Kansas’s western border.

Scouts reported on a highly variable crop that exhibited consistent drought stress signifiers, freeze damage in instances, frequent evidence of leaf and stripe rust and occasional ladybugs (signifying aphids that damage wheat) and grasshoppers that eat wheat.

On the basis of 216 field stops, scouts estimated western and southern Kansas wheat fields will yield an average 42.4 bushels per acre in 2024, up from 27.6 bushels per acre estimated by scouts a year ago as the 2023 crop was developing. The yield estimate was the highest since 56.7 bushels per acre were estimated in 2021.

The cumulative two-day average, based on 422 field stops May 14-15, was 45.8 bushels per acre, which compared with 28.7 bushels per acre a year earlier based on 600 field stops. It was the highest estimate since scouts in spring 2021 estimated that year’s crop at 56.7 bushels per acre after making 335 field stops.

Hard Winter Wheat Tour 2024 was planned and executed by the Wheat Quality Council under the auspices of executive vice president Dave Green. Aaron Harries of Kansas Wheat served as emcee.

Scouts were set to depart early May 16 from Wichita hoping to measure a few wheat fields enroute to the Mennonite Heritage Museum in Goessel, Kansas, US. This year marks the sesquicentennial of Turkey Red Wheat in Kansas. Mennonites brought the variety to Goessel in 1874 from Crimea. A found collection of coins commemorating Turkey Red’s centennial minted in 1974 were distributed in Wichita to the tour’s drivers in thanks for their service during the week.