Fargo, ND. — Despite weather complications and minor pest and disease challenges, the 2022 U.S. Northern Plains spring wheat crop is flourishing and poised for big yields. That was the consensus of more than 50 scouts from across the wheat value chain, academia, government and media who assessed, measured, calculated and estimated 304 wheat fields at the end of July.
The Hard Spring and Durum Wheat Quality Tour took place in North Dakota and western Minnesota from July 25-28.
The four-day trek concluded with scouts leaving Devils Lake, ND, early Thursday en route to the tour’s genesis in Fargo, ND. In a final meeting held at the Northern Crops Institute on the campus of North Dakota State University, the scouts submitted their yield estimates from their Day 3 field stops and discussed their findings. Data from the day’s field stops was added and averaged by Rita Ott of General Mills, the chair of the Wheat Quality Council’s executive committee for 2022, and combined with data from the previous two days.
The average hard red spring wheat yield calculated for the shortened third day of scouting, derived from 44 stops, was 53.1 bushels per acre, compared to 35.4 bpa based on 62 stops on the third day of the tour. 2021 and compared to 48.6 bpa of 64 stops on day 3 of the 2019 tour, which is considered the last normal tour undertaken before the canceled 2020 tour and the moisture-hungry crop rated on the 2021 tour .
The entire 2022 tour included 267 hard red spring wheat field stops and 35 durum wheat field checks. The average spring wheat yield for 2022 was estimated at 49.1 bpa, significantly higher than the 29.1 bus per acre estimated in 2021 based on 257 stops. The estimate was the largest since 49.9 bpa in 2015, when 422 spring wheat fields underwent the measurement and calculation process.
The average durum yield estimate in 2022 was 39 bpa, down from 24.3 bpa in 2021 after 15 field stops. The durum wheat yield estimate was the highest since 39.3 bpa in 2018 based on 17 field stops.
In reports released on Day 3 and throughout the tour, scouts had similar messages. They said the harvest was overall behind the normal pace and in a greater variety of development phases due to the extended planting window during which spring wheat was planted in April before the rainy weather. and sometimes snowy and the cool temperatures that accompany it do return for a prolonged winter. . Planting resumed in spurts when conditions permitted, but some fields were not planted until June while others fell into the “prevented planting” category.
As a result, the fields were more advanced in some places. As an example, scouts on the pink route measured three fields on the morning of July 28 and found one in the hard dough stage, one in the soft dough stage, and one in transition from milk to dough stage. Estimated time to harvest in fields in both states ranged widely from three to eight weeks. Most fields were seen after four to six weeks.
Scouts along the pink route have also seen cases of ustilago tritici, aka loose smut, a seed-borne fungus that travels through developing grain tissue and appears as a mass of black spores on spikelets. instead of the flowery parts. It was a relatively rare sighting on the tour.
In wheat fields all over North Dakota and western Minnesota, scouts have noted some occurrence of Fusarium head blight, also known as scab, which typically results in yield loss, lower test weight , poor seed germination and can contaminate the grain with mycotoxins. However, although scab was observed in many fields, it was by no means widespread, nor was it a large part of the plants.
Ahead of the week’s round, concerns were raised about grasshoppers and their destructive effects on wheat yields. While most scouts encountered them at various times over the course of three days in the field, the event was less than feared, usually characterized by a few specimens near the edge of wheat fields. Most seemed to prefer snacking on adjacent fall crops like soybeans.
The productive and informative tour continued to restore attendance levels after the canceled 2020 tour and 2021 hike through wheat fields deprived of water by a small group as COVID continued to rage. The Wheat Quality Board was established in 1938 and focuses on the evaluation of hard red winter wheat for milling and end-use quality. An expanded council came into existence in 1993-94 when the spring wheat and soft wheat groups were invited under the WQC umbrella.
The 2022 tour was produced under the direction of Dave Green, executive vice president of the Wheat Quality Council, and hosted by wheat industry veteran Brian Walker, a retired former technical director at Miller Milling.
The 2022 tour also saw two fields of hard red winter wheat measured for an average yield estimate of 27.5 bpa.