ANKENY, Iowa (DTN) -- Scouts on the Southern Illinois Wheat Tour on May 24 estimated the state's soft red winter wheat (SRW) will average 68.56 bushels per acre (bpa).
Farmers and wheat industry officials assessed fields and production potential and crop quality. Most of the SRW wheat in Illinois is grown in the southern third of the state. All the wheat in this region will likely be double-cropped with soybeans, according to Mike Doherty, Illinois Wheat Association (IWA) executive director.
The tour's yield estimate -- released May 25, by the IWA -- is less than USDA's yield projection of 75 bpa. Crop conditions have changed since the USDA first assessed the 2022 crop at the beginning of May.
Doherty said the tour's yield estimate was lower than expected due to crop variability in the region.
"We saw some counties with some production issues, but it was spotty," he continued. "Some fields have nitrogen deficiency, there was some armyworm damage and the January and February hard freezes played a role in some areas.
"The USDA NASS (National Agricultural Statistics Service) crop condition reports for Illinois winter wheat were borne out by our wheat crop tour," Doherty added.
The USDA'S Crop Progress and Condition report on May 23 said 55% of Illinois wheat was in good-to-excellent condition. Last year's crop at the same time was rated 85% good to excellent.
"While we have a good wheat crop this year for Illinois, it may come in a bit lower than last year," Doherty said.
Illinois winter wheat by the numbers (USDA data):
-- 730,000 acres planted in 2022, up 60,000 acres from last year.
-- 660,000 acres projected to be harvested, up 50,000 acres from last year.
-- Projected 2022 average yield of 75 bpa, down 4 bpa from last year.
-- Projected 2022 production of 49.5 million bushels (mb), up 1.3 mb from last year.
THE BIG WHEAT PICTURE
The Illinois' SRW wheat yields may be less than last year, but the crop is still in better shape than winter wheat in the Southern Plains. Moisture and heat stress took a toll on hard red winter wheat in Texas, Oklahoma and a good portion of Kansas -- the nation's top wheat producer.
Yields in Kansas, for example, are expected to average less than 40 bpa. In 2021, yields averaged 52 bpa. Oklahoma winter wheat yields and production are expected to be about half as much this year compared to 2021.
Read a story about the Wheat Quality Council's 2022 Hard Winter Wheat Tour, which mostly focused on Kansas, at https://www.dtnpf.com/…. It includes production estimates and analysis. A video summary of the tour can be found at https://www.dtnpf.com/….
"Many producers in the heart of our (Illinois) Wheat Belt are telling me their crops are looking pretty good," Doherty said.
Illinois' wheat harvest is expected to start in mid-June.
A projected 2023 crop budget for southern Illinois, included in a post on the University of Illinois farmdoc daily website earlier this year called "Wheat in 2023?", showed including winter wheat in a crop rotation could be good for a farm's bottom line. Find the information at https://farmdocdaily.illinois.edu/….
Revenue for corn after soybeans was $1,053 per acre, which used an average yield of 188 bpa and a corn price of $5.60 per acre. Revenue for soybeans after corn was $747 per acre, which used an average yield of 57 bpa and a soybean price of $13.10 per bushel. Revenue for wheat-double-crop-soybeans came in at $1,253 per acre, which used an average wheat yield of 45 bpa and a wheat price of $13.10 per acre.
After including expenses (except land cost), the university's southern Illinois crop budges shows an operator and land return of $422 per acre for wheat-double-crop-soybeans. That's $179 per acre better than corn after soybeans and $205 per acre higher than soybeans after corn.
"Wheat-double-crop-soybeans are projected to be more profitable than either corn or soybeans in 2023," said "Wheat in 2023?" authors Gary Schnitkey, Nick Paulson, Krista Swanson, Jim Baltz and Carl Zulauf. "Wheat-double-crop-soybeans has both environmental benefits and rotational considerations.
"The wheat will act like a cover crop, which has the potential to reduce nitrates leaving fields," the analysis continued. "Often, rotational studies find that including nitrogen will increase subsequent corn yields. Of course, planting soybeans (after wheat harvest) in late June/early July involves weather risks, and occasional low yields should be expected for double-crop soybeans."
Economics suggest planting wheat in 2023 is reasonable, according to university data.
DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman expects wheat prices to remain bullish for some time because of lower supplies in the United States and in the world. July Kansas City wheat closed May 25 at $12.37 3/4.
For the latest information about global wheat production, see this DTN story: https://www.dtnpf.com/….
Matthew Wilde can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow him on Twitter @progressivwilde
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