How much do you know about Kansas wheat production?
Being a participant on the annual Hard Red Winter Wheat Tour is a good way to find out.
The tour is traditionally conducted by the Wheat Quality Council, an organization whose job is all about improvement of wheat's usefulness to the milling and baking industries and almost nothing about tours and tourist attractions – expect for the first week of May.
The tour is a great opportunity for those who are new to various segments of the industry to learn about how wheat grows, the diseases and insects that threaten it and the other people who are connected to it.
I participated in the first day and half of the 2010 tour and had a chance to get to know some really great people and take a close-up look at the progress the crop had made by early May.
Tour promoters emphasize that the look at the crop is a snapshot in time. Since is usually five to six weeks before harvest when the tour moves through Kansas, there is a great big disclaimer on crop condition and anticipated yield because as tour participants are reminded repeatedly:
"Anything can happen between now and harvest and you never count the bushels until they are in the bin."