Kansas Wheat held its annual tour — for the time, virtually. This virtual tour gave a broad look at the crop in the Sunflower State.


After the tour, Kansas Wheat is estimating the wheat crop to be 7% lower than the May 12 USDA estimate. During the week of May 18, Kansas Wheat and Kansas State University Research & Extension, with support from the Kansas Department of Agriculture, visited several wheat farms.


The tour through the north central district included crops plagued by spring drought. The team pointed out stripe rust and barley yellow dwarf are becoming more prevalent. The spring freeze also had a large effect on the crop in this area, which had an average yield of 41.1 bushels per acre.


According to Kansas Wheat, the crop looked better in northwest Kansas.


"April took a toll on the wheat crop this year with all the cold temperatures," said Jeanne Falk Jones, multi-county Extension agronomist, in a release. She reported that there was cosmetic leaf burn from cold temperatures two times in April. She said, the area has suffered from drought stress, weed pressure due to thin stands, low pressure wheat streak mosaic virus, tan spot and stripe rust. The average yield was 51.7 bushels per acre.


On the second day of the tour, Gary Millershaski, Kansas Wheat commissioner from Lakin, reported that due to extreme fall and spring drought conditions, many acres of wheat have been abandoned in west central and southwest Kansas. He said only 30-40% of wheat in the area emerged last fall. The remainder did not emerge until spring, which will have a negative effect on yield.


"I believe our quantity is going to be down a little bit, but I feel like our quality is going to be unbelievable," Millershaski said in a release.


Calculated yield for west central Kansas was 42.5 bushels per acre and southwest Kansas was 32.4 bushels per acre.


Although stipe rust is still evident in south-central, central and eastern Kansas, the crop was much improved. South-central Kansas' calculated yield was 49.5 bushels per acre, central Kansas was 47.6, and eastern Kansas was 46.5.


Kansas Wheat is estimating the wheat crop at 284.4 million bushels, 7% lower than the May 12 USDA estimate of 306 million bushels and down 16% from last year's production of 338 million bushels.


Overall crop yield potential for the state was estimated at 44.5 bushels per acre, 2.5 bushels lower than the USDA estimate of 47.


More information, including the recordings of each of the virtual meetings, is available at kswheat.com/virtualtour.