USDA CROP PRODUCTION ESTIMATE: USDA released its latest estimate of California wheat production on June 12: The California winter wheat production forecast, at 893 thousand tons, is 17 percent below last year. The 350 thousand acres expected to be harvested for grain is also 17 percent below last year. The yield is expected to average 2.55 tons per acre, unchanged from last year.
California's Durum wheat production is forecast at 429 thousand tons, up 14 percent from last year. The yield is forecast at 3.30 tons per acre. If realized, this will tie a record high. With continued above normal temperatures in Southern California, crop harvest is well underway.
HARVEST UPDATE: Overall, this year's harvest seems to be characterized by average or slightly lower than average yields but higher protein and good quality. The dry weather and/or high heat at certain times seem to be the major factors. The CWC lab is just starting crop quality testing; full results will be published in the fall.
Imperial Valley durum harvest is almost complete. Quality was very good but yields were somewhat below average, probably due to high heat during flowering. With planted acreage up 27% over 2011, total production will exceed last year.
Central Valley - Harvest is in full swing and initial reports are quite good. Yields are about average but protein is up. With the recent hot weather, harvest is moving quickly. Greenchop may be higher than in the last few years.
Sacramento Valley - Harvest has started and is going well. A week of windy, cool weather may be slowing progress down a bit, but warmer days are expected tomorrow. Similar to the rest of the state, yields are average or slightly down and protein is higher.
RESEARCH UPDATE: In the June 6th edition of the California Farm Bureau' s Ag Alert, reporter Kathy Coatney highlighted two field research fertilization projects that are being funded by the Commission. Khaled Bali, UCCE irrigation and water management advisor for Imperial County, is studying the impact of different nitrogen and phosphorus rates on yield and protein level. Bali is in the second year of this research project, funded under the Commission Farm Advisor Mini-Grant Program.
Brian Marsh, UCCE farm advisor in Kern County, is conducting a study in Fresno and Kern Counties on the use of chlorophyll meters to assess nitrogen use. His project is also in its second year and is made possible with grower funds through the Commission Mini-Grant Program.
The results of these and other Commission-funded field research projects will be presented at the California Alfalfa & Grains Symposium to be held in Sacramento on December 10-12, 2012.
WHEAT FOODS COUNCIL: The Commission recent became a full member of the Wheat Foods Council, an industry organization dedicated to promoting wheat foods. Following is a press release about their recently completed event called Wheat Safari.
Wheat Foods Council Wheat Safari Takes Nutrition Influencers from Farm to Fork
Ridgway, CO - Take 25 of the nation's top nutrition bloggers, freelance food writers, dietitians and health professionals to Manhattan, KS, the heart of wheat country, and what do you get?
The Wheat Foods Council's Wheat Safari!
The 2012 Wheat Safari, June 19-21 in Manhattan, let attendees experience first-hand how wheat goes from farm to fork. The information-packed two-and-a-half-day event included visits to:
The Ken Wood farm in Chapman, KS, where participants rode a combine and experienced the wheat harvest
A hands-on baking workshop at the American Institute of Baking featuring wheat flour from the six different classes of wheat
A tour of Kansas State University's Hal Ross demonstration flour mill to see how wheat kernels are turned into flour.
A visit to the Farm to Market Bread Co. bakery in Kansas City, MO, where flour is transformed into the wheat foods we all love
The goal of the event was to educate key influencers about wheat's nutrition and healthfulness.
"Consumers continue to tell us they are confused about nutrition and how to eat healthfully, including how to work more whole grains into their daily diets," commented Judi Adams, president of the Wheat Foods Council. "All our Wheat Safari participants are important health influencers. We look forward to continuing and strengthening the relationships we developed with them on Safari. Their feedback is important in helping us identify and provide the tools they need to effectively communicate nutrition messages about wheat and wheat foods to consumers."
Accompanying the Wheat Safari was noted carbohydrate expert and nutrition educator Julie Miller Jones, Distinguished Scholar and Professor Emerita of nutrition in the Department of Family, Consumer and Nutritional Sciences at the St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN. Dr. Jones was on-hand to answer attendee's questions on top nutrition issues, from how to help consumers identify whole grains in their grocery stores, to why gluten-free diets only make sense for those diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. It's important to remember that 92 percent of Americans can consume the gluten-containing grains (wheat, rye and barley) without problems.
"The most important messages consumers need to hear is variety and moderation, even in whole grains. Following a diet that includes a wide variety of foods including enriched and whole grains ensures we are getting the nutrients we need for optimal health. Moderation ensures we stay within the calorie range best suited to our age, gender and life style," stressed Dr. Jones.
The Wheat Foods Council is a nonprofit organization formed in 1972 to help increase public awareness of grains, complex carbohydrates, and fiber as essential components of a healthful diet. The Council is supported voluntarily by wheat producers, millers, and related industries. For more information, visit www.wheatfoods.org.