The reports were given and the final numbers crunched at the Day 1 assessment of the state of the 2015 Kansas hard red winter wheat crop when wheat quality tour participants and interested area farmers gathered in Colby Tuesday night.
The day 1 average expected yield, computed by 92 tour participants from all over the U.S. and the world, after 284 stops along five routes between Manhattan and Colby, said 34.3 bushels per acre, 0.4 bushels off from last year's dismal average of 34.7 bushels.
See also: Farm Futures' Weekly Wheat Review by Bryce Knorr
Kansas State University wheat specialist emeritus Jim Shroyer was quick to say the number could be off if participants who counted heads in fields already headed out used the more regressive formula for projecting yield by tiller or stalk count.
Shroyer said his estimate of the crop is that it is severely challenged by freeze and drought but is still better than last year -- as much as 25 to 30% better.
One promising thing for the winter wheat crop is the rain that fell steadily from the just ahead of the orientation meeting in Manhattan on Monday night through much of the day on Tuesday. More rain is expected along the tour routes today.
The drenching rains in western Kansas were more than welcome and muddy fields were a small price for tour participants who recognized that the moisture might well form the border between a samller-than-normal harvest and no harvest at all.
The rains were too late for thousands of acres in north central and west central Kansas where winter kill, high winds and drought have already resulted in blown-out fields, abandoned fields and bare ground.
"It looks like the pictures of the surface of the moon," said Lane County seedsman Vance Ehmke.
Tour continues Wednesday
The hard red winter wheat quality tour continues today with participants swinging south and winding up in Wichita for a Day 2 evaluation tonight.
The tour concludes in Kansas City on Thursday, where the council will release the official Wheat Quality Tour forecast for the total Kansas winter wheat crop in 2015.
Folllow the progress of the tour on Twitter @pjgriekspoor using #wheattour15.
More in this series
Manhattan floats as Hard Red Winter Wheat Quality Tour kicks off
All aboard the annual Hard Red Winter Wheat Quality Council tour
Shocking numbers: Winter wheat crop even worse than last year
Hard Red Winter Wheat Tour Day 2 brings better news
Tour sees Kansas winter wheat harvest of 288.5 million bushels
Muddin' and storm dodging keep winter wheat tour lively