Northeast N. Dakota wheat outlook below average after late start – tour

U.S. spring wheat prospects in northeastern North Dakota were forecasted below average following a late planting, scouts on an annual tour found on Thursday.

Scouts also noted many fields that farmers were unable to plant due to the rains this spring, although it was not possible to tell what crop farmers had intended to seed.

Yield prospects on a route through Ramsey, Cavalier, and Pembina counties were forecast at 41.6 bushels per acre, based on surveys of nine fields as part of the Wheat Quality Council’s tour of the top spring-wheat producing state.

Crop development in the area was well behind schedule and scouts estimated some fields were at least six weeks away from harvest.

The crop also will need to avoid hot temperatures during August as that could hamper grain fill and lower the test weight when the crop is harvested.

“It is just a matter of how this crop finishes up,” said Brian Walker, a technical service manager at Horizon Milling. “It is going to take good weather.”

In 2012, scouts projected yields on the same route at 48.9 bushels per acre. The five-year average on the route is 49.3 bushel per acre.

Scouts on another route projected spring wheat yields at 45 bushels per acre, down from 57.3 bushels per acre a year earlier, after surveying three fields in Massey and Nelson counties.

On a third route running through Nelson and Griggs counties, yields were projected at 55.1 bushels per acre compared with 49 bushels per acre in that area in 2012.

The tour wraps up on Thursday afternoon, when the Wheat Quality Council gives a final average yield estimate for the region’s hard red spring wheat and durum crops.

USDA has forecast North Dakota’s spring wheat harvest at 229.6 million bushels this year, with an average yield of 41 bushels an acre. Spring wheat makes up about a quarter of the total U.S. wheat crop.

Spring wheat yields from the 351 fields that scouts surveyed during the first two days of the tour were calculated at 44.1 bushels per acre, in line with the first two days of the 2012 tour.

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