Kan. wheat trek finds most fields maturing early

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- Participants in the annual Kansas winter wheat tour are finding most fields ripening two to three weeks early throughout the state.

But the potentially record yields that participants noted in northern Kansas on the tour's first day are being offset by the drought-stressed wheat they viewed Wednesday in the southwest.

Aaron Harries, marketing director for the trade group Kansas Wheat, said Wednesday members are getting a fuller picture of the drought's effects from Garden City to the Great Bend and Hoisington area.

Fields in that region are expected to yield 20 to 40 bushels per acre, a sharp contrast with the estimate of 53.6 bushels for fields in northern Kansas.

The tour concludes Thursday at the Kansas City Board of Trade, where participants will offer estimates of total Kansas production.