The registration date for the annual Hard Winter Wheat Quality Tour is coming up on April 4, 2018. The tour, sponsored by the Wheat Quality Council, brings in participants from around the world who are tied to the wheat industry, but may not have ever stood in fields. These individuals are able to interact with Kansas farmers, network with their peers, learn more about wheat production and assesses the condition and yield potential of the hard winter wheat crop across the state of Kansas.
This year’s tour dates will be April 30 to May 3. Participants gain a firsthand understanding of what it takes for farmers to grow, manage, harvest and market the crop. Over the three-day tour, they will canvass the state’s wheat crop from Manhattan to Colby to Wichita and back again. Along the way, they will stop every 15 miles or so to estimate yields in wheat fields on their routes. Every car will carry at least one Wheat Tour veteran who is familiar with not only the route, but basic agronomy and the yield estimate formula. This allows participants to ask questions about the wheat that they are seeing, as well as diseases, growing conditions, field observations and more.
“These tours are a tremendous learning experience for any new people in the industry,” said Dave Green, executive vice-president of the Wheat Quality Council. “This training and mentoring opportunity is an extremely good value for the amount of fundamental wheat industry knowledge that a person can acquire in just three short days.”
Many foreign buyers of Kansas wheat will participate, giving those folks a chance to see the wheat that they trade, mill, bake and ship growing in the Kansas fields. Tours have seen upwards of 120 participants in the past, giving Kansas farmers the chance to interact with and influence their customers around the globe.
More than 600 crop evaluations will be made in wheat fields throughout the state, and yield estimates made using a formula developed by the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
On last year’s tour, participants were able to wade through snowy fields in May and see first-hand the unruly effects of an unpredictable mother-nature. While the conditions of this year’s tours are yet to be determined, participants are sure to see thirsty wheat fields. As of March 26, winter wheat condition rated 15 percent very poor, 34 poor, 38 fair, 12 good, and 1 excellent, according to USDA NASS.
For Kansas farmers, you do not have to be on the Wheat Quality Council’s Hard Winter Wheat Tour to scout wheat fields and make your own estimates. To help, we have compiled the steps participants will use to estimate yields so you too can participate. Visit our website at www.kswheat.com/scouting to get a step-by-step tutorial for calculating yields using the same method as the tour participants.