Source: Kansas Wheat Commission

The year 2010 saw the wheat industry continue to evolve. New technologies and new industry players continue to develop at a rapid pace. Meanwhile, Kansas wheat farmers continued to do what they do best: grow the world’s most consistent supply of high-quality wheat. Here are a few of the highlights from 2010.

Wheat Crop Better than Expected: The 2010 crop totaled 360 million bushels, the same as in 2009. However, Kansas farmers harvested just 8 million acres, down 600,000 from last year. That makes the final average yield 45 bushels per acre, the fifth highest yield on record. Based on the Kansas Wheat Commission’s 2010 Kansas Wheat Harvest Reports, farmers experienced yield ranges from 15 bushels per acre averages in areas of south central Kansas to over 85 bushels per acre in areas of western Kansas.

Grower-owned Technology Firm Fills Niche: Heartland Plant Innovations, a bioscience company developed by the KWC and KAWG, launched a Wheat Doubled Haploid laboratory through the company's Advanced Plant Breeding Services business. The doubled haploid technology allows plant breeders to create "pure lines" immediately, rather than "segregating lines," thus shaving several years off the variety development process. HPI was founded in 2009 through an Innovations Center grant from the Kansas Bioscience Authority; it has several public and private investors. HPI President Forrest Chumley named three people to the staff in September.

Wheat Yield Contest Names Three Winners: At the Kansas State Fair in September, Danee Helvey, Ellsworth; Alvin Schmedemann, Junction City and Jon Buehler, Scott City each were awarded $1,000 cash prizes in the inaugural Kansas Wheat Yield Contest, sponsored by the KWC, KAWG and BASF. Helvey's 95 bushel per acre yield in southern Mitchell County was the overall champion.

World Demand Sparks Price Increase: At harvest, cash prices for wheat had plummeted, but by fall planting weather scares from around the world prompted a dramatic increase in cash and futures prices, with local cash bids above $7.60 in some areas of Kansas the week before Christmas. More profit potential prompted many farmers to increase wheat plantings in the fall for 2011 harvest.

Urban Wheat Field II in Washington, D.C.: More than 15 farmer-volunteers and Kansas Wheat staff participated in the second Urban Wheat Field in Washington, D.C. in September. The "farm-to-fork" exhibit featured a quarter-acre of growing wheat, miniature mills, a baking station and grocery store display promoting a variety of wheat foods. Thousands of consumers toured the free exhibit and walked away with food samples, flour and an assortment of nutrition information. The Wheat Foods Council, of which the KWC is a member, sponsored the event.