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U.S. spring wheat yield projections highest ever

Average yield seen at 49.9 bushels per acre

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Fargo, N.D. (Reuters) — Yield potential for spring wheat grown in the northern U.S. Plains was projected as the highest on record, with the crop benefiting from timely planting and cool weather, according to results from an annual crop tour.

Scouts on the Wheat Quality Council’s three-day tour of North Dakota, the top spring wheat state, and adjacent areas in Minnesota and South Dakota projected an average hard red spring wheat yield of 49.9 bushels per acre, exceeding the tour’s 2014 forecast of 48.6 bushels and the tour’s prior five-year average of 45.2 bushels.

The forecast was the biggest on record, with figures dating back to 1992. Previously, the 2014 projection was the biggest ever.

“We had good moisture since the spring, and cool weather,” said Ben Handcock, executive director of the Wheat Quality Council. “It made bigger heads and bigger kernels than usual, which makes bigger yields.”

Yields for durum wheat were forecast at 39.2 bushels per acre, up from 36.6 last year.

Protein content was not expected to be great, as the crop typically needs to go through periods of stress to boost protein. Additionally, some heavy storms and high winds knocked down wheat plants in many areas of North Dakota, which will slow down harvest and add to farmers’ expenses, Handcock said.

The yield projections were based on tour assessments of 422 spring wheat fields and 16 durum fields.

“The yield is consistent with what people expected,” Erica Olson, marketing specialist for the North Dakota Wheat Commission. “For once we had early planting, and that’s good for yield.”

Disease pressure was low as producers were vigilant about applying fungicide, Olson said.

MGEX spring wheat futures have fallen 1.9 per cent during the past three days, hitting contract lows, as the reports from the fields hit the market.

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