Wichita Surpassing expectations, the 2008 winter wheat harvest in Kansas was forecast to top 379.1 million bushels, industry leaders said Thursday.
That was the consensus of about 60 farmers and other trade officials who spent three days checking fields across the state as part of the Wheat Quality Council's annual winter wheat tour. The announcement was made at the end of the tour on the floor of the Kansas City Board of Trade.
"While not by any means a bumper crop, it is an average to above-average crop that beat everybody's expectations," said Aaron Harries, director of marketing for Kansas Wheat.
Yields averaged 43.3 bushels per acre statewide.
On Friday, the Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service releases its official projections.
The best wheat fields were in Dickinson, Morrison and Saline counties on his leg of the tour across the state, Harries said, adding that participants also reported good stands of wheat around south-central Kansas.
Kansas producers last fall planted 9.9 million acres of winter wheat for harvest this season amid soaring grain prices for all major crops.
Although this season's planted acreage is down from the 10.4 million acres of wheat planted in Kansas for harvest in 2007, the outlook for this crop is bright after last season's awful harvest.
Last season, a late spring freeze and disease forced farmers to abandon much of their wheat - with Kansas farmers harvesting just 283.8 million bushels for the 2007 crop.
But participants noted that this year's harvest will not follow traditional harvest patterns because cool weather has delayed wheat development in some parts of the state.