WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- The government's first forecast of season anticipates the smallest winter wheat crop in Kansas since 1996.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service estimated production this year at 260.4 million bushels, based on May 1 crop conditions. The report was done before this week's searing temperatures descended on the already drought-stressed crop.
The production estimate is down 18 percent from last year.
Forecast average yields are forecast to be 31 bushels per acre, down seven bushels an acre from last year and also the lowest since 1996.
The official estimate is in line with last week's prediction from the Wheat Quality Council Hard Winter Wheat Tour of 260 million bushels in Kansas.
Nationwide, wheat production is forecast at 1.4 billion bushels, down 9 percent from a year ago.
Posted by Greg Palmer