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Rain and snow last week pushed the nation’s soybean harvest further behind the average pace and also slowed the corn harvest, USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service said in its weekly Crop Progress report on Monday.

As of Sunday, Oct. 14, 38% of the soybean crop was harvested, up just 6 percentage points from the previous week and 15 points behind the five-year average of 53%. That’s further behind normal than the previous week when harvest lagged the average pace by just 4 percentage points.


Listen to the report here: https://post.futurimedia.com/krvnam/playlist/futures-one-crop-progress-report-10-15-5292.html

Though the national average good-to-excellent condition rating for soybeans dropped by only 2 percentage points from 68% the previous week to 66% last week, crop conditions in some key soybean-growing states worsened last week.

The percentage of soybeans rated as very poor to poor in Iowa rose 2 percentage points from 9% the previous week to 11% last week. In North Dakota, soybeans were rated 20% very poor to poor, up 4 percentage points from the previous week. Missouri soybeans’ very-poor-to-poor rating was also up 4 percentage points from 19% the previous week to 23% last week.

The wet conditions last week also slowed the corn harvest. Nationwide, 39% of corn was harvested as of Sunday, still 4 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 35% but nearer to the average pace than the previous week when harvest was 8 percentage points ahead of normal.

Corn condition held steady nationwide last week at 68% good to excellent.

Winter wheat planting was 65% finished as of Sunday, ahead of 58% last year at the same time but slightly behind the five-year average of 67%. Winter wheat emerged, at 44%, was ahead of last year’s 35% and also ahead of the average pace of 41%.

Forty-two percent of the sorghum crop was harvested as of Sunday, behind the average pace of 48%.

Eighty-eight percent of rice was harvested as of Sunday, behind last year’s 90% but near the five-year average of 87%.

Eighty-five percent of cotton had bolls opening as of Sunday, ahead of the average of 83%. Thirty-two percent of cotton was harvested, slightly ahead of last year’s 30% and also ahead of the average pace of 25%. Nationwide, cotton condition dropped 7 percentage points from 42% good to excellent the previous week to 35% last week.

To view weekly crop progress reports issued by National Ag Statistics Service offices in individual states, visit http://www.nass.usda.gov. Look for the U.S. map in the “Find Data and Reports by” section and choose the state you wish to view in the drop-down menu. Then look for that state’s “Crop Progress & Condition” report.

National Crop Progress Summary
This Last Last 5-Year
Week Week Year Avg.
Corn Mature 96 93 89 91
Corn Harvested 39 34 27 35
Soybeans Dropping Leaves 95 91 93 92
Soybeans Harvested 38 32 47 53
Winter Wheat Planted 65 57 58 67
Winter Wheat Emerged 44 30 35 41
Cotton Bolls Opening 85 78 81 83
Cotton Harvested 32 25 30 25
Sorghum Mature 81 73 79 82
Sorghum Harvested 42 39 39 48
Rice Harvested 88 79 90 87


National Crop Condition Summary
(VP=Very Poor; P=Poor; F=Fair; G=Good; E=Excellent)
This Week Last Week Last Year
Corn 4 8 20 47 21 4 8 20 47 21 3 8 24 50 15
Soybeans 3 8 23 48 18 3 7 22 49 19 3 9 27 48 13
Sorghum 6 11 28 44 11 5 11 29 44 11 2 6 27 52 13
Cotton 11 20 34 29 6 6 19 33 32 10 5 8 29 43 15
The Wheat Breeding program at Kansas State University is about more than just developing new wheat varieties for Kansas. While the release of superior varieties is an end goal of the program, many other aspects benefit Kansas farmers. Many of the wheat varieties that are released, from both public and private entities, have pedigrees from K-State varieties.
A few of these benefits include the ability to develop future wheat breeders, perform long-term research and collaborate with a wider scientific community.
K-State has two wheat breeders: Dr. Allan Fritz runs the Manhattan program and develops hard red winter wheat varieties for eastern and central Kansas, and Dr. Guorong Zhang runs the Hays program and develops hard red winter and hard white varieties for central and western Kansas.
The programs are funded by Kansas State University, Kansas Wheat Commission and Kansas Wheat Alliance. The funding from wheat farmers is used for operation of the program, including staff time to plant and harvest in excess of 20,000 yield plots per year, equipment purchases and upkeep, and travel to plots across the state.
Develop Future Breeders
The public breeding program helps to develop the future of wheat breeders for the industry. The program employs graduate students and post-doctoral research assistants, who graduate and go on to work in other public and private breeding programs. These breeders will in turn shape the future of the wheat industry, but their roots will be firmly planted in their training in Kansas.
Long-term Research
New technologies are being used
Development of a new wheat variety is a long-term process. It takes about 12 years from the initial greenhouse cross until that new variety is available to farmers. With new technologies available, that development time is decreasing. These new technologies include high throughput phenotyping, genomic selection, doubled haploids, speed breeding and DNA markers.
“We’re really on the front edge of implementing these things and putting them into the breeding program and learning how to harness their power,” said Fritz.
Sequence of wheat genome
With the recent completion of the sequence of the wheat genome, the industry is on the forefront of additional technological advances. A genome sequence is like a map for wheat researchers. Think about going on a trip with no map. You will probably end up where you wanted to go eventually, but it will require extra time, wrong turns and headaches. The wheat genome sequence allows researchers to have a tool to guide them while experimenting with valuable traits for Kansas wheat farmers at a more rapid pace.
“It gives you some tools to really do some novel things. We’re really at the front edge of having the tools and knowledge to do some very interesting things and potentially revolutionary things with that kind of technology,” said Fritz. “So having these technologies is a part of making sure that we’re really providing the advantages for Kansas producers.”
Wild relatives
Because of the continued long-term investment in the program, breeders are able to work on projects that won’t provide a return on investment in the short term. One of these allows them to bring in the diversity of wild relatives of wheat.
While generations of cross-breeding have led to modern varieties with better yields and disease resistances, this has meant that other valuable traits found in wild wheat relatives have been left on the table. Wheat researchers are now on a treasure hunt to find those traits and breed them back into our modern varieties.
“The genetic diversity that we’re bringing in will benefit all of the wheat community.” Fritz said, “We can take some chances on some things that aren’t entirely appropriate for a private breeding program to do, things that wouldn’t make sense in terms of revenue projects.”
Broader Scientific Community
Another benefit of the public breeding program is the access to so many scientists and researchers and the ability to collaborate with other departments at K-State.  This includes other departments like entomology, plant pathology, agronomy and grain science, just to name a few.
“What’s really cool about being a wheat breeder at K-State is that you have all these resources around you to make your program better,” said Fritz. “The varieties we’re producing are really the product of not just the effort that’s in our program, but there’s all this other research effort that’s going on at K-State as well, that feeds information into that. We’re just really fortunate to have that infrastructure behind us. That’s a lot of the secret to our success.”
With these benefits, it only makes sense that the K-State breeding program only releases varieties that offer an improvement over the other varieties in the marketplace.
Fritz talks about varieties in comparison to a three-legged stool. First, there must be yield potential or farmers won’t grow it. Second, there must be a way to protect that yield through disease resistance, heat tolerance, insect resistance and all of the pieces that go into yield protection. And the final component is quality, which means that the variety will meet the industry standard for baked products.
Fritz says their release philosophy has always been relatively conservative, so they don’t release a wheat just so farmers have another choice to sort through. He says, “In general, we’ve really tried to make sure that when we bring something forward through KWA it is really what we think is a really good fit for production and has real value on acres.”

 In spite of rain, the U.S. corn harvest has pushed forward, USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service said in its weekly Crop Progress report on Tuesday, which was delayed a day due to Columbus Day.

Listen to the report here: https://post.futurimedia.com/krvnam/playlist/futures-one-crop-progress-report-10-9-5248.html

As of Sunday, Oct. 7, 34% of corn was harvested nationwide, 8 percentage points ahead of the average pace of 26%. That was further ahead of normal than the previous week when harvest was even with the of average.

The soybean harvest, on the other hand, is slowing down. As of Sunday, 32% of the crop was harvested, which is 4 percentage points below the five-year average of 36%. That compares to the previous week when harvest was slightly ahead of the average.

Meanwhile, both crops continued to reach maturity ahead of the normal pace. Ninety-three percent of corn was mature, 10 percent ahead of the average of 83%. Soybeans were 91% dropping leaves, 6 percentage points ahead of the average of 85%.

Nationwide, condition ratings for corn is now at 68% good to excellent, as opposed to the 69% good to excellent rating seen last week. Soybeans were unchanged from the previous week with a rating of 68% good to excellent.

Winter wheat planting was 57% finished last week, ahead of 46% at the same time last year and also slightly ahead of the five-year average of 54%. Winter wheat emerged, at 30%, was ahead of last year’s 23% and ahead of the average pace of 28%.

Thirty-nine percent of the sorghum crop was harvested as of Sunday, behind the average pace of 42%.

Seventy-nine percent of rice was harvested as of Sunday, behind last year’s 84% but equal to the five-year average. Seventy-eight percent of cotton had bolls opening, ahead of the average of 74%. Twenty-five percent of cotton was harvested, slightly ahead of last year’s 24% and also ahead of the average pace of 18%.

To view weekly crop progress reports issued by National Ag Statistics Service offices in individual states, visit http://www.nass.usda.gov. Look for the U.S. map in the “Find Data and Reports by” section and choose the state you wish to view in the drop-down menu. Then look for that state’s “Crop Progress & Condition” report.

National Crop Progress Summary
This Last Last 5-Year
Week Week Year Avg.
Corn Mature 93 86 80 83
Corn Harvested 34 26 21 26
Soybeans Dropping Leaves 91 83 88 85
Soybeans Harvested 32 23 34 36
Winter Wheat Planted 57 43 46 54
Winter Wheat Emerged 30 14 23 28
Cotton Bolls Opening 78 67 71 74
Cotton Harvested 25 19 24 18
Sorghum Mature 73 62 68 72
Sorghum Harvested 39 34 35 42
Rice Harvested 79 70 84 79


National Crop Condition Summary
(VP=Very Poor; P=Poor; F=Fair; G=Good; E=Excellent)
This Week Last Week Last Year
Corn 4 8 20 47 21 4 8 19 47 22 3 8 25 49 15
Soybeans 3 7 22 49 19 3 7 22 49 19 3 9 27 49 12
Sorghum 5 11 29 44 11 6 11 29 44 10 2 6 28 52 12
Cotton 6 19 33 32 10 6 19 33 32 10 8 7 25 42 18

Kansas wheat farmers have a unique opportunity to export wheat into African and Asian markets. Unfortunately for Australian wheat farmers, their crop has been plagued by drought and freeze. They won’t be able to meet the export demand for the white wheat they grow. This gives Kansas wheat farmers the chance to meet this international demand. Planting decisions made now will affect the supply that is available over the next year, while Australia’s exports lag.

Jay Armstrong, a Kansas wheat farmer who serves on the Kansas Wheat Commission and recently returned from a trade mission to Nigeria and South Africa, says wheat buyers in Sub-Saharan Africa are looking to the U.S. to help fill this void. The 2018 Sub-Saharan Africa Board Team trip was sponsored by U.S. Wheat Associates, the U.S. wheat industry’s export market development organization.


Australia is the only competitor to the U.S. in the hard white wheat market. Australia recently lowered its production forecast by nearly 13 percent, cutting its exports to a 10-year low.


Countries such as Taiwan, Korea and Nigeria, who look to Australia to purchase the white wheat they need for their products, are looking to the U.S. to source hard white wheat in the wake of this forecast.


“Because Australia is not going to be able to meet demand for white wheat, buyers are coming to the U.S. for hard white wheat,” said Justin Gilpin, CEO of the Kansas Wheat Commission and Kansas Association of Wheat Growers. “We are, right now, in the beginning of a long window, where we can fill this demand by planting hard white wheat now for harvest next summer.”


Gilpin says this window continues through this marketing year and into next marketing year. Because of Australian production shortfalls, prices on Australian wheat are high.


“Farmers need to be considering hard white wheat as they are making planting decisions,” said Gilpin. “This demand will continue through next year’s harvest.”

For farmers who are looking to plant hard white wheat this fall, there are a number of excellent varieties available. The variety Joe, which was developed by the K-State breeding program, has good milling quality and also carries a gene for resistance to Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus, which has caused wide-spread damage in western Kansas, where hard white wheat is best adapted.
The caution with planting hard white wheat remains what it has been for years – know where you will be delivering your wheat prior to planting. However, with hard white wheat acres increasing in recent years, more elevator locations are handling it at harvest time and beyond.
Eric Sperber, CEO of Cornerstone Ag in Colby, Kan., says they have sent many samples of hard white wheat to Nigeria for them to do bake tests and overall quality tests. The feedback has been positive.
“Because Australia is having problems, we are getting some of this business,” he said.
High Plains Platinum hard white wheat is being loaded in western Kansas to meet this demand. The High Plains Platinum brand represents a high set of quality standards for hard white winter wheat.
With the feedback he received from his trip, Armstrong predicts, “We will have a higher demand than what we can grow.”

MANHATTAN, Kan. — The Kansas Wheat Commission has announced that it is putting its support behind a technology being advanced at Kansas State University and that one researcher says will bring “many new discoveries” in improving wheat.

The university has been working with wheat gene editing since 2014, and recently published findings of a study in which they successfully increased seed size in a cultivar of wheat. Their work was published Aug. 22 in the journal, Theoretical and Applied Genetics.

“This is our first product that shows that the system works and that we can effectively apply it and affect a trait in wheat in a positive way,” said Eduard Akhunov, K-State professor of wheat genetics and pathology.

Gene editing is a technology that gives scientists the ability to improve an organism’s DNA, essentially by repairing a gene that is producing an undesirable outcome in the organism.

K-State scientists have evaluated the entire wheat genome to identify individual genes that affect such traits as disease resistance, drought tolerance, seed size and more, then use a protein known as CRISPR/Cas9 to introduce changes into a DNA code. CRISPR/Cas9 acts as a sort of molecular ‘scissors’ to cut out the undesired part of a target gene or introduce new parts with improved properties, according to Akhunov.

“It’s hard to hide the optimism associated with the potential of gene editing for wheat,” said Aaron Harries, the vice president for research and operations for the Kansas Wheat Commission. “While bread wheat has existed on the planet for 10,000 years, science has only started to understand its complex genetic structure in the past few decades.”

Harries said the Kansas Wheat Commission has recently funded a gene editing project in Akhunov’s lab at K-State to identify wheat genes that can be edited to promote improvements in yield and quality traits.

“Most Kansas producers are supportive of gene editing,” Harries said. “The Kansas Wheat Commission strongly believes that it is a tool, in combination with the recently completed map of the wheat genome, that can significantly advance wheat research in the next decade.

He added: “The general consensus in the science industry is that gene editing is a safe, non-GMO technique. Importantly, U.S. government regulations also classify this as a non-GMO technology.”

Wei Wang, a postdoctoral research assistant in Akhunov’s lab, spent much of the last four years analyzing and editing genes that could be used to improve future wheat varieties. He said he has a set of 25 to 30 genes that are in the project’s pipeline, ready to be implemented in the breeding cycle in the next several years.

“We will be working on a larger set of genes that will affect not only yield component traits, but anything that will be relevant to Kansas wheat growers – drought tolerance, disease resistance, nutritional quality…,” Wei said. “There are a large number of genes that we will be considering in the future within the scope of the wheat gene editing platform.”

Gene editing has received much press coverage for its potential uses with the human genome. K-State is one of just a few places in the world where scientists are using it to improve wheat genes, said Akhunov, who also credited plant pathology professor Harold Trick for his contributions to the project.

Up to now, K-State’s gene editing work was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture and the International Wheat Yield Partnership, a large international effort to improve wheat production.

“Wheat’s genome is five times larger than the human genome,” Harries said. “Having recently completed a map of the wheat genome — timed with the emergence of gene editing technology – means that we could be entering the golden age for wheat research.”

The full journal article outlining K-State’s recent work in improving seed size is available online.

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Kansas Wheat Alliance (KWA) offers several K-State wheat varieties that can perform in any environment, for any type of producer. Great disease packages, drought resistance, acid soil tolerance and high yields are various aspects delivered in KWA varieties.

Even with many tribulations during the 2018 growing season due to drought and other weather conditions, KWA varieties still made it to the top of many performance tests across and outside Kansas.

One of KWA’s highest performing varieties this year and past years is Larry, a hard red winter wheat with high performance especially in the south central region of the state.

“If we look at south central Kansas from McPherson through Hutchinson and as far south as Conway Springs, and we look at harvest results from years 2015 to 2018, Larry was the highest yielding variety in south central Kansas, together with WB4303,” said Romulo Lollato, wheat and forage crop extension agent with K-State.

In that same region, Zenda, another hard red winter wheat variety from KWA, also ranked high on the list, especially in 2017.

“These are excellent results. We’re comparing with several other varieties, including private and other public varieties as well,” Lollato said.

Results like this are expected because of Larry’s higher yield potential compared to Zenda, but Zenda has other attributes that make it a very successful variety. Ultimately, these top two yielding varieties are very different, but both provide great results.

“That’s why we suggest that a wheat producer should always diversify their varieties within their operation. Depending on the region, you may have drought stress or acid soils more often, head scab, or whatever your problem is, but you should be really trying to diversify your portfolio of varieties,” says Lollato.

Zenda has been called the “Everest replacement” due to its similarities with the well-known, older variety. It has the strengths of Everest but has better milling and baking qualities.

“Zenda brings forward a lot of the resistance to fusarium head blight (FHB) and some good resistance to barley yellow dwarf (BYD). It also addresses the Everest vulnerability to stripe rust, and that’s a big plus in some of those heavier stripe rust years,” said Erick DeWolf, K-State wheat disease spec

Zenda, like Everest, offers FHB tolerance, which makes it a good choice if you are going to plant it following corn. Its scab tolerance and good stripe rust tolerance make Zenda a great fit for a producer’s operation.

DeWolf says that if Everest has done well for you, then Zenda would be a more productive, stripe rust-resistant variety that is worth a look.

Everest is one of KWA’s most well-known varieties and has been a top performer in Kansas for a number of years. DeWolf says Everest offers a great disease package that has remained strong over its lifetime, even in difficult disease years.

“Some of its strengths have been some of the best available resistance to fusarium head blight, barley yellow dwarf, leaf rust, powdery mildew, and it has Hessian fly resistance. That disease resistance has really helped it maintain its productivity in a lot of years,” De Wolf says.

Everest is best adapted for central and eastern Kansas, where many of the diseases mentioned by DeWolf are most problematic. Its replacement, Zenda, offers an improved quality profile as compared to Everest.

Two varieties that are performing well in the western part of the state are Tatanka, a hard red winter wheat, and Joe, a hard white wheat.

Tatanka offers good stripe and stem rust resistance, plus a resistance to soilborne mosaic. DeWolf says the rust resistance is important for western Kansas and so is its average drought tolerance. Another notable trait Tatanka offers is a high yield performance. In the 2018 K-State Wheat Performance Tests, Tatanka was in the top yielding group in Tribune and Decatur and was the top yielding variety in Larned.

Joe is a strong, hard white winter wheat option for western Kansas. It has had an exceptional yield record in recent years, and DeWolf says it’s one of the best adapted and most productive varieties that is available for growers in western Kansas.

Joe also offers an above average disease package with resistance to stripe rust and leaf rust.
Perhaps most notably, it also has some of the best available resistance to the wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV).

Another KWA variety well-suited for the western part of the state is Oakley CL, a hard red winter wheat, which also has good resistance to WSMV. It is also strong on stripe rust resistance and is moderately resistant to leaf rust.

“When growers know they are in a high-risk area for wheat streak and want to plant a red wheat then Oakley CL is often what we direct them to because of its resistance to wheat streak mosaic,” DeWolf said.

DeWolf says the wheat streak resistance is not a silver bullet, though, and growers should be aware that the resistance doesn’t function at very warm temperatures.

KWA offers a number of other varieties with various traits to make them successful. It’s important to remember that each variety offers something a little different, and it’s good to diversify your wheat variety portfolio to make sure you are not exposed to one specific problem.

Lollato says, “I think within KWA we are offering a nice range of genetic diversity in our varieties, and if a producer wants to stick to KWA varieties, they have excellent options to diversify their portfolio.”

If you are interested in learning more about K-State wheat varieties, visit the KWA website at kswheatalliance.org to find information on where to buy and variety performance in your region.