Wheat crop is one of the best

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By Rick Greenwell

This year’s wheat crop was probably the most interesting I have ever seen.  It looked as if everything was going to go wrong earlier in the year and it turned into one of the best wheat crops in the state’s history.  “What went right” is pretty interesting.
Kentucky farmers expect to produce 27.9 million bushels of winter wheat according to the Kentucky Field Office of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The forecast was based on crop conditions as of June 1 and represented a 3 percent increase in production from the May estimate. The expected 2011 crop will be up 69 percent from 2010. Yield was forecast at 68 bushels per acre, up 2 bushels from the May estimate and 2 bushels above the 2010 crop. Farmers intend to harvest 410,000 acres for grain, unchanged from May but 160,000 acres above the 2010 harvested acreage. Of the 540,000 acres of wheat seeded in the fall of 2010, the 130,000 acres not harvested for grain were used as plow down prior to setting tobacco or harvested as hay or silage.
Temperatures and rainfall were mostly above normal during May. Major concerns include the flood damage and its effect on yield and test weight. As of June 26, 64 percent of the wheat had been harvested. The week prior, the field office reported 82 percent of the crop in either good to excellent condition.
Winter wheat production for the nation was forecast at 1.45 billion bushels, up 2 percent from the May 1 forecast but 2 percent below 2010. Based on June 1 conditions, the U.S. yield was forecast at 45.3 bushels per acre, up 0.8 bushel from last month but 1.5 bushels less than last year. Expected grain area totals 32.0 million acres, unchanged from May 1.