Scouts find spring wheat in good condition despite grasshopper pressure

Mandan, SD. — In the six agricultural districts that make up the southern half of North Dakota, the 2022 hard red spring wheat crop is generally in good shape. Fields are generally about four to six weeks away from harvest, behind the usual pace after a weather-stretched planting window. Disease and pest pressures are minimal in most areas, although the destructive appetite of grasshoppers is a growing concern.

These are the conclusions of a group of 50 wheat scouts made up of growers, commodity traders, millers, bakers, ingredient makers, government analysts, academics and members of the media who have Participated in the 2022 spring durum and durum wheat quality tour.

The first full day of the ongoing tour saw scouts depart from Fargo, ND, early Tuesday in rented SUVs and minivans, taking one of seven pre-arranged color-coded routes west or south. north inland from the main US production state for spring. wheat. A traditional eighth lane, purple, was discontinued this year. Tour officials explained that the route, heading south from Fargo in South Dakota’s northeastern counties and westbound past Eureka, SD, before returning to North Dakota, had no fields of spring wheat this year.

Along the red route, a team of four traveled west to Casselton, north through the towns of Arthur and Hunter before zig-zagging west through Mayville-Porter and back slightly. south and west to Cooperstown. The first measurement of this group, taken near Arthur in Cass County, ended up being their highest estimated yield of the day at 63.4 buses per acre. By mid-morning, the group had also measured a field in poor condition with uneven stands, short wheat and dry, sandy soil. This stop was the team’s lowest yield estimate of the day, 15.68 buses per acre, taken west of Cooperstown in Griggs County.

Both of these measures turned out to be outliers. During 14 field stops, the team mostly calculated yields in the range of 40 buses per acre. Uneven stands were not the norm, but were observed several times in lower ground which was probably very wet when planted. Many fields had rows of wheat surrounding empty low areas, some of which still had standing water.

Visible from trunk roads, secondary gravel roads and highways were fields or portions of fields that appeared unseeded. Tour veterans speculated it was ‘preventing planting’ acres farmers likely received insurance money in after an extremely wet northern plains spring, fields muddy to such a degree that seed could not be sown until it was too late in relation to the development time needed to bring the plants to maturity by harvest in August or September. However, the scouts had no way of determining what harvest had been expected.

In the measured fields of the Day 1 concentration area, scouts observed cases of stripe rust, fusarium and ergot. But none of these pressures were pervasive or even a dominant feature of the areas in which they were found. Some roads have seen a high presence of grasshoppers, which the North Dakota Wheat Board noted in the most recent editions of its weekly wheat update. A farmer in central North Dakota said they were prevalent and rather than chewing on wheat ears and berries, they preferred to chew on the stalk just below the ear. The farmer said the insect intrusion was extremely difficult to control after the larvae matured and started jumping from plant to plant. The large number of grasshoppers present in his fields was also a concern for the next crop year, he said.

The scouts gathered for a meeting Tuesday in Mandan before heading to Fort Abraham Lincoln for dinner and tours. During the meeting, Wheat Quality Council officials collected yield estimates recorded by crews at each field stop, from Fargo to Mandan, and calculated an average yield estimate. Based on a proprietary formula determined by the USDA in conjunction with observed row spacing width, number of ears and spikelets measured during 100 field stops, the average bus estimate per acre of the day 1 for hard red spring wheat in 2022 was 48.9 bus per acre, compared to 29.5 bus per acre as the first day average in 2021 during a severe drought.

The average durum bus per acre from Day 1 calculated from four measured durum wheat fields was 26.5 bus per acre.

The tour continues Wednesday as scouts plan to follow seven routes from Mandan to Devil’s Lake, ND.