Participants on the Wheat Quality Council’s hard winter wheat tour estimated the 2013 Kansas winter wheat yield at 41.1 bus an acre, down 8 bus from 49.1 bus an acre as the tour’s 2012 forecast and compared with 42 bus an acre as the final US Department of Agriculture estimate for the state.

On the basis of the average of 49 estimates offered by observers on the tour, the 2013 Kansas wheat crop was forecast at 313.1 million bus, compared with 403.9 million bus as the tour’s 2012 crop forecast and 382.2 million bus as the USDA’s final 2012 estimate for Kansas.

About 80 crop scouts, individuals from the United States and abroad ended their three-day tour of wheat fields in the early afternoon May 2. They made a total of 570 stops during the tour.

Many participants predicted harvest would begin at the end of June to early July, with an average of about seven weeks from now. The crop was viewed as currently being about two weeks behind average in development.

Participants said in general they saw wheat in the central corridor of Kansas as better than expected and the crop in western areas worse than expected, especially in the northwestern part of the state. But abandonment was not expected to be excessive, in part due to the late development of the crop, which left farmers with few alternatives.

Tour members said fields from Wichita and to Kansas City, the final leg of the tour, were in mostly good to very good condition, with yields near the high end of estimates, although some were very wet. At least one field was estimated to have a yield of over 80 bus an acre, the top on the tour.

Wheat tour participants noted a wide range of estimated yields in individual fields, from a low of zero bus to occasional estimates in excess of 70 bus an acre.

Wheat futures prices have been supported by earlier drought conditions across much of the hard winter growing region, and by repeated bouts of freezing temperatures, including another freeze this week in western parts of the belt, including western Kansas. Kansas City hard red winter wheat futures closed about 6@15c a bu higher on May 2.