| WISHEK, North Dakota, July 23
WISHEK, North Dakota, July 23 Yield prospects
for the spring wheat crop in southern North Dakota were
averaging about 5 bushels per acre better than a year ago but
variability was high between fields, scouts on an annual tour
said on Tuesday.
Scouts predicted an average yield of 46.7 bushels per acre,
based on surveys of four fields in Ransom and LaMoure counties.
A year ago, scouts along the same route pegged average yields at
41.6 bushels per acre. The tour's five-year average for the area
is 42.6 bushels per acre.
Yield projections ranged from 39.5 bushels per acre to 61.6
bushels per acre.
"Right now, things are looking good but boy it has been a
struggle," said Tom Teigen, director of the North Dakota State
University Agronomy Seed Farm. "It has made a remarkable
Growers planted wheat in fits and starts due to heavy rains
throughout the spring and the crop struggled early because
conditions were too wet until a dry spell during July.
On another route further north, fields surveyed on Tuesday
morning averaged 35.3 bushels per acre, well below last year's
45.7 bushels per acre, scouts said. The five-year average for
that route, which travels through Cass, Steele and Griggs
counties, is 39.5 bushels per acre.
The fields on that route were suffering from the late
planting, they said.
"It was just too much rain at the wrong time," said Jim
Peterson, marketing director of the North Dakota Wheat
Commission. "Our biggest challenge is the short growing season.
The late crop will need some time."
Minneapolis Grain Exchange spring wheat futures for
September delivery were down 2-1/4 cents at $7.44-1/2 a
bushel midday on Tuesday.
The three-day spring wheat tour, organized by the Wheat
Quality Council, kicked off on Tuesday, with a record 75 scouts
fanning out from Fargo on routes across North Dakota, the top
U.S. spring wheat state, as well as western Minnesota and
northern South Dakota.
This year's participants include, farmers, market analysts,
grain buyers, government statisticians and officials from food
companies such as Kraft Foods Group Inc and General
The tour will survey fields in northern and northwest North
Dakota on Wednesday before examining the crop in northeastern
areas of the state, including the fertile Red River Valley, on
The tour will release daily crop reports. On Thursday the
group will give a final average yield estimate for the region's
hard red spring wheat and durum, following surveys of about 300
Hard red spring wheat is a high-protein crop used to make
flour for bread and pizza dough. Durum is a key ingredient in
The U.S. Agriculture Department has forecast this year's
U.S. harvest of spring wheat, other than durum, at 513 million
bushels compared to 542 million a year ago - a quarter of the
total U.S. wheat crop.
For North Dakota, spring wheat output is seen at 229.6
million bushels, with an average yield of 41 bushels an acre.
The USDA said on Monday afternoon that the spring wheat crop
was rated 68 percent good to excellent as of July 21, a 2
percentage point drop from a week earlier. A year ago, the crop
was rated 60 percent good to excellent.