Bowbells, North Dakota/Reuters — Spring wheat yield potential in northwestern North Dakota was seen as variable, with much of the crop behind its typical development schedule following late planting, scouts on an annual tour found on Wednesday.
On one route through Ward, Mountrail and Burke counties, scouts on the Wheat Quality Council’s annual tour projected hard red spring wheat yields at 39.8 bushels per acre, based on surveys of five fields. A year ago, yields in that area were pegged at 43.8 bushels per acre. The tour’s five-year average for the same route is 41.5 bushels per acre.
Scouts also estimated durum yields at 31.1 bushels per acre, based on surveys of five fields.
“It is better than I thought it would be,” said Carrol Duerr, a manager at Colfax Farmers Elevator who was a scout on the tour. “They have had moisture at the right time. If it does not get too hot, it will do well.”
On another route further west, the average yield forecast was 48.3 bushels per acre, based on stops in five fields. That figure compares with 46.6 bushels per acre in 2013 and the tour’s five-year average for the route of 40.7.
The three-day crop tour kicked off on Tuesday, with scouts fanning out from Fargo, North Dakota, to sample fields across the state, by far the largest U.S. producer of spring wheat. Scouts also surveyed some fields in South Dakota and Minnesota.
MGEX spring wheat futures for September delivery were down 3/4 cent at $6.18 per bushel as of noon CDT (1700 GMT). Prices have fallen nearly 2 percent so far this week.
On Tuesday, scouts projected yields across southern portion of North Dakota at 48.3 bushels per acre, 13 percent bigger than the tour’s five-year average for the area. Scouts will survey fields in eastern North Dakota on Thursday morning.
The tour will release final yield projections for spring and durum wheat on Thursday afternoon.
The U.S. Agriculture Department has forecast U.S. 2014 production of hard red spring wheat at 520 million bushels, up 30 million bushels from a year ago.
USDA estimated the average U.S. yield of spring wheat other than durum at 45.5 bushels per acre and the North Dakota yield at 46 bushels per acre.