The Hard Red Winter Wheat Quality Tour of Kansas hits the road tomorrow morning (April 30), sampling fields along six pre-determined routes between Manhattan and Colby, with an overnight stop in Colby.
Participants will get the first good look at the impact of late, hard freezes on fields across the state. Freezing conditions hit on April 9 and 10, April 15 and 16 and April 23 and 24, affecting almost every county in the state.
Almost 80 people are expected to participate in this year's tour, which is hosted by the Wheat Quality Council and intended to give its members an understanding of the growth and development of the Kansas wheat crop, plus provide insight into yield and quality potential.
On Wednesday, the tour will leave from Colby, following routes through fields between Colby and Wichita, with an overnight in Wichita.
On Thursday, the tour will travel from Wichita to Kansas City for a wrap-up session at the Kansas City Board of Trade and an official forecast of the yield for the 2013 Kansas wheat crop.
About the tour
The annual Wheat Quality Tour is an educational and networking opportunity for those involved, says Justin Gilpin, chief executive officer of the Kansas Wheat Commission and Kansas Association of Wheat Growers. "The tour is widely known for bringing together all segments of the wheat industry, where it all begins: in the field, with farmers."
Ben Handcock, director of the Wheat Quality Council, says the tour serves as an educational opportunity for many members of the media, milling and baking companies, governmental agencies and retailers. "Our objective is to give people a snapshot view of the wheat crop, the day we are there," he explains. "We have members who mill, bake and trade this crop, and the tour is a service to them. This tour provides a great opportunity for them to gain a greater understanding of the industry."
Participants gain a firsthand understanding of what it takes for farmers to grow, manage, harvest and market the crop. Many foreign buyers of Kansas wheat will participate, giving those folks a chance to see the high quality of the Kansas crop, Handcock adds.
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 Ag Statistics Service.
The April 22 Weekly Crop Report from Kansas Ag Statistics rated the wheat crop 37% poor to very poor, 33% fair and 30% good to excellent. That was sampled well before the last two freezes.
Kansas Farmer field editor Tyler Harris will be traveling with the tour and reporting daily.