58th Annual Wheat Quality Tour

(Jim) Good morning folks, welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer, your host. And you’re in luck because we’re on the 58th Annual Wheat Quality Tour and where we look at the potential of the wheat crop across the state of Kansas. So, stay tuned. Come back. Get your cup of coffee and listen to see how we estimate the wheat yields in Kansas. See ya in a minute.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.

(Jim) Good morning folks, welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer, your host. And we’re in luck because we’re in western Kansas, southwest Kansas to be exact. We’re actually on the 58th Annual Wheat Quality Tour. And really what the Wheat Quality Tour is about is to get a feel for what the yield potential, total yield production is for the state of Kansas wheat crop. What the Wheat Quality Tour…the Wheat Quality Tour’s goal is to estimate the total yield production of the state of Kansas. So, we leave Manhattan and go to Colby, we end up in Wichita and then back to Kansas City and we stop in numerous fields. Yesterday on the tour, we stopped 280 times with 23 different cars and nearly 100 participants. And basically as we spread out and take different tours across the state, we stop, go into the field, and as you can see, the people behind us are counting the number of stems in a foot of row. And so we take a little yard stick, we measure the row spacing, measure the plant height, and then we count in a 12 inch row, of the row, count the number of heads that we can see in that foot of row. Then we do that several times, the three or four of us will do that several times. We come up with a number, an average basically of the number of heads, and we have a formula that the Kansas Ag Statistics has developed over the years. And this formula takes the number of heads that we can count, the average weight of the head that’s been determined and then divide that by the row spacing and then a factor. It’s quite a detailed formula that we plug in the numbers and we come up with a yield bushel, yield per acre yield. And interestingly enough the Kansas Ag Statistics had this formula in place for years and years and they modify it over time. And drought years, good years, disasters, bumper crops, they have come up with a relatively good figure. And when we have all these people canvass basically the state of Kansas, we can actually come up with a pretty precise number or yield potential on a given day. Now, we don’t know exactly what’s gonna happen from this point on, but we do know, up to this point especially in western Kansas it’s been quite drought stressed, but with recent rains the potential looks a little better than it has. So, folks, stay with us. We’re gonna be talking to other participants on the tour and we’ll be right back after these words from our sponsors.

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer, your host. And today we’re in luck because we have Ben Hancock, who is the Executive Director of the Wheat Quality Council and this is May and we’re on the Wheat Quality Tour. Ben, you’re the head honcho here, you’ve been doing this for a long time. So, tell us a little bit about the history and what’s the purpose. (Ben) Well the purpose is to give the industry kind of a heads up, snapshot view of what kind of a wheat crop we’ve got in the state of Kansas. And it’s always been my theory that if the farmer doesn’t know what Cargill knows, he’s at a disadvantage. (Jim) Right. Good point. (Ben) And Cargill is certainly out here and all the other grain trading companies are in Kansas with scouts scouting this crop, giving reports every week as what they think is out here. And they’re not telling the farmer. So, I think, we do a service to the farmer that he doesn’t even recognize. We’re letting him know what’s out here, so he can know as much as those big boys know. (Jim) OK. (Ben) But the real purpose is to give, you know, our membership which is the milling and baking industry and the wheat commission and those people, a kind of a snapshot of what kind of a crop we’re having, what they can expect, in their flour mills or their bakeries in the next few months. (Jim) OK. And it’s also trying to line up transportation too, right? (Ben) Yea, it is. And it’s amazing who we’ve got on this tour. I mean it’s just incredible. We’ve got some guy from Dubai United Arab Emirates of all places, and you wonder how they even find out about it. And they wouldn’t have 25 years ago, but social media, I mean this stuff goes everywhere now, they’re all tied to some company in the U.S. who’s putting out a newsletter or something like that. So, we’ve got a Dubai guy, we’ve got two from France, one from Switzerland, we’ve got some Japanese. We had some Mexicans until a day before the tour and they couldn’t get their passports straightened out. (Jim) In the past we’ve had them for weeks ago though. (Ben) We’ve had them a lot of times. But the Japanese are always here, almost always here. We’ve had Australians, we’ve had everybody you can think of. (Jim) We also had tour participants, also including neighboring states right? (Ben) Sure we’ve got two participants from Nebraska, and we’ve got some from Oklahoma, Colorado. So, they’re a valuable part of the tour. We can’t cover, physically cover all that area, so those people do a mini tour, sometimes in their own state and come and tell us what they think they’ve got. We actually go into Nebraska, but not very far. We can’t make it a long trip in to Nebraska. We go a little bit into Oklahoma on the second day of the tour. But we can only go about 15 miles into Oklahoma and then head straight east and come back up into Wichita or we’re gonna miss dinner. (Jim) Right and that’s important. Dinner’s important. So, tell us a little bit about what happens before dinner though. (Ben) Well before dinner, we have every car….now this year there were 23 cars the first day, I think we’re down to 19 on the last day, but every car gives a report from what they saw that day in their vehicle. And so there are several cars on each one of those routes. (Jim) Different routes, yea. (Ben) We have six different routes. They’re the same every year. We have the information from 1992 all archived on those routes. So, the routes never change, just the people in the cars. And they give a report from every car as to what they’ve found that day and then we put all that in the computer, used to do it on a white board with a marker. (Jim) Right, yea. I remember, I remember that. (Ben) But now we do it on a computer and we print out a sheet before everybody ever leaves the room and I hand out a hundred copies of what happens on day one, or day two or day three. And at the final we do the final. Jim) Overall report and you give that on Thursday? And it will be the estimate of the first week of May what the Kansas wheat crop is gonna yield. (Ben) That’s right and it’s amazing that we get… last year we were four tenths of one percent off from what the national ag statistics said Kansas was. And we’ve got 70 people that never saw wheat fields. I mean it’s incredible to me that we can get that close. And I’m hoping we get that close this year, but I think we’ve got more challenges than we’ve had in a couple of years so I’m a little bit nervous about where we’re gonna end up. (Jim) Ben I want to thank you for taking time. Thank you for organizing this whole shindig for the next few days. I really appreciate all you’ve done. (Ben) I appreciate what you’ve done for us for the last 30 years bud. (Jim) Thank you. Folks stay with us, we’ll be right back after these words from our sponsors.

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm, I’m Jim Shroyer, your host. And we have Rick Horton with us in this segment. Rick is a farmer from western Kansas and he is on the tour for the first time. He’s also an officer of the Kansas Wheat Growers Association. So, Rick thanks for being on the tour with us. And so this is actually your first time on the tour, but I know you’ve been in lots of wheat fields, as you’re farming out in western Kansas. So, what do you think the benefit of you being on the tour with all these industry folks? (Rick) Well, it gives farmers a chance to meet everybody else associated with being in the wheat industry. Like today in my vehicle we had somebody from the insurance industry, we had somebody from the reporting side of it, and somebody from the consulting side. So, you get a lot of different views inside that vehicle as you’re driving around looking at wheat fields across Kansas. (Jim) So, you get to mingle, get to know the folks a little bit? (Rick) Yea, yep. (Jim) End users as well? (Rick) Yea. (Jim) So, OK from the standpoint of a farmer, what’s the benefit for the farmer to themselves, to you on this tour? (Rick) Well, it allows us to see what kind of condition the crop is overall across the state. And it gives us a chance to see some different production aspects, a side of it that we may not necessarily see in there that we actually farm in. (Jim) OK. So, what’s your take on… for the first day here… what’s your take on the crop that you saw as you moved from Manhattan to Colby? (Rick) It started out just an average crop, there was some disease, some insect pressure and as we started to move west in to the Belleville area, started to see a lot more winter kill damage. It started getting drier, short wheat, starting to head out. Just a lot of issues going on with this wheat crop. (Jim) OK. So I know you’re down in the Kearney County, Wichita County and Finney County area. What’s your wheat looking like this year? (Rick) It’s really all over the board. And kind of the underlying factor is how much rain did we get last summer? (Jim) That you stored in the profile? (Rick) Yea, that we stored in the profile, where we have a fallow period on most of the wheat that we raise. You can see it just about to the inch. You know Wichita County got two inches less out of this rain than Finney County… (Jim) This current rain in the first week of May? (Rick) Yea, or last year. (Jim) Oh, last year, OK. (Rick) This profile is showing up. So, we were able to live on that for a long time. What we got tapped into some deeper moisture, which we got a root system established. And from there you know, we’re basically going to determine our yields from that aspect. So, now that we’re finally are getting some rain, we’ll see how it finishes. (Jim) Rick, I really appreciate you taking time and being on this segment and on the tour as well. Folks, thanks for being with us in this segment and now’s your time to get a cup of coffee and hurry right back, after these words from our sponsors. We’ll see you then.

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer, your host. And we’re on the Kansas 2015 Wheat Quality Tour and with us we have Romulo Lollato. He’s a graduate student at Oklahoma State right now. But folks, I want to introduce my replacement. He is going to be the new Extension Wheat Specialist for the state of Kansas. And Romulo, thank you for taking my job. (Romulo) Well, thank you. (Jim) You thank me for retiring, huh right? (Romulo) For retiring at the right time. (Jim) There you go. Well, this is your first tour. And I know you start in August, but this is your first tour. What do you think about the Wheat Quality Tour so far? (Romulo) Well, I have been really enjoying this experience so far. It’s given me plenty to see from drought stress crops, to good looking crops more towards the east part of the state. I got to meet a lot of people as well. So, I have been able to show myself here a little bit, get to know some people. So far it’s been a great experience. (Jim) So, what do you think your role is or will be in this Wheat Quality Tour in the future? (Romulo) Well you’re leaving some big shoes for me to fill here. (Jim) I don’t think so. (Romulo) So, for sure I would have my role as an Extension Agent to educate people here. So, as you mentioned earlier we had about 70 people who didn’t know anything about the wheat plant itself. So, it’s an opportunity to educate these people from not only all over the state, but all over the country. Because we had people from Brazil, from France, from many other countries here on the tour. So, certainly an opportunity to educate and to take… to show what the wheat is and what the wheat looks like in the biggest wheat producing state of the U. S. (Jim) Yea because they trade in wheat but many of them have never seen a wheat plant or been in a wheat field. So, it’s really kind of humorous and I agree I think this is a great opportunity. It’ll be for you in the future to educate these folks that trade in wheat to really know what wheat is. (Romulo) Exactly. Generally traders they are very interested in the final numbers itself, so working as an analyst or as a crop forecast analyst, that’s what they want from this analyst, they want the final number. But being able to see in the field and understanding the field how these final numbers are generated, I think it’s very important for them. (Jim) Romulo, thank you and I want to wish you good luck in taking my job and I know you’re gonna do well. And call me any time. (Romulo) Thank you very much Jim. I’m looking forward to my starting date. (Jim) OK, good deal. Folks stay with us. We’ll be right back after these words from our sponsors.

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer, your host. I hope you’ve enjoyed this session about the Wheat Quality Tour, the 2015 Wheat Quality Tour. We’ve had an interesting trip. We’ve had almost 100 participants from all over the world. I think they learned a lot about the wheat crop in Kansas and how it’s produced and what the potential for the crop is. We’ve had farmers that have attended the tour and think they’ve enjoyed visiting with industry people from around the world. And I think they have a better feeling of what the Kansas wheat crop is going to do in 2015. We’ve counted a lot of tillers. We’ve estimated yields using the formula. And we’ve come up with some interesting data for what the yield’s going to be. We’ve come up with some estimates on day one of about 30 bushel, which is from eastern Kansas to western Kansas. And we have come up with a yield of 34.5 for the second day. I think that’s going to be a very good estimate for the central part of the state. We’ve talked with producers across the state and I think variability, short wheat, thin wheat are the operative words, unfortunately, this year. I think producers will tell you that they will have some of their best wheat especially in the central part of the state, some of the best wheat they’ve ever had and some of the worst wheat they’ve ever had, and just a few miles apart. So, that’s really been an interesting…and it’s really been difficult for these participants to get a handle on the 2015 Kansas wheat crop. So, thank you for joining That’s My Farm. And don’t forget next week at this same time, we’ll have another issue of That’s My Farm. Thanks folks.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.

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