Wheat Quality Tour surveys Kansas wheat crops

LAKIN, Kansas – When the Wheat Quality Tour stopped by one of Gary Millershaski’s wheat fields they estimated the crop might produce 24 to 27 bushels per acre. On a good year Millershaski can get more than 45 bushels, but after a dry year he said he’d be happy with whatever he could get.

“I’ve got a lot of fields that I would love it if I could have a 25 bushel average this year,” said Millershaski.

The Wheat Quality Council is made up of farmers, millers, bakers, and other wheat industry professionals and it tests fields like Millershaski’s all over Kansas once a year.

“We’re trying to give people a feel of how the crop looks, how it grows in the field, what the conditions are like, and when we’ll be able to harvest,” said Dave Green, one of the Wheat Council members testing outside of Sublette.

So far what they’ve seen isn’t very promising. North Central Kansas crops didn’t look as good as last year and that trend continues through the state.

“In Southwest Kansas it’s a very poor crop, they’ve obviously been very dry here in the southwest and the crops are struggling,” said Green.

Millershaski said farmers rely on the tour’s estimates, but they can never be positive about their crops’ success until they’ve finished harvesting.

The Lydia Elevator outside of Lakin can hold about 1.8 million bushels of grain, but after this year’s wheat season, farmers are doubtful they’ll be able to produce even half of that. Local farmers haven’t been able to fill it completely with wheat since the drought settled in Southwest Kansas.

“We’re at the mercy of Mother Nature,” said Millershaski. “Without moisture there’s nothing we can do.”

The tour will wrap up in the Kansas City area on Thursday where they’ll compile all the data. Those numbers and estimates should be ready for farmers as early as Thursday afternoon.

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