Market News & Headlines >> Spring Wheat Tour Confirms Big Crop

Last week’s annual Wheat Quality Council spring wheat tour confirmed strong crop potential due to favorable planting and growing conditions with crop scouts estimating a record high hard red spring (HRS) yield.

The tour average HRS wheat yield was 49.9 bushels per acre, versus the previous record of 48.6 bushels set last year and the five-year average of 45.2 bushels. "We had good moisture since the spring, and cool weather," Ben Handcock, executive director of the Wheat Quality Council told Reuters News Service. "It made bigger heads and bigger kernels than usual, which makes bigger yields."

The tour’s average yield estimate for durum wheat was 39.2 bushels per acre, up from 36.6 last year. The yield projections were based on tour assessments of 422 spring wheat fields and 16 durum fields in North Dakota and adjoining areas of Minnesota, South Dakota and Canada’s Manitoba province.

USDA has forecast a record-high North Dakota spring wheat yield of 48 bushels per acre for 2015, topping the 2014 record of 47.5. USDA has estimated the average U.S. spring wheat yield for 2015 at 46.7 bushels per acre, matching last year’s level and puts the average durum yield at 39.6 bushels versus last year’s final level of 39.7 bushels.

The protein content of this year’s spring wheat crop is not expected to be particularly high due to the lack of stress throughout the growing season. 

The biggest crop concern at this point is lodging as heavy storms and high winds knocked down wheat plants in many areas of North Dakota.  “We definitely saw some lodging,” Handcock told Agweek. But he said farmers and others he talked with during the tour said they should be able to harvest most of the lodged wheat, although it will take longer. “We’ve still got to get the wheat in the bin (harvest it). But we’ve got time to do it this year because they got an early start on planting,” he said.