WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The latest government forecast is painting a more optimistic estimate of the size of the Kansas winter wheat crop now that harvest is nearly completed. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported yesteday (FRI) that it expects this year's wheat production to be 334.4 million bushels in Kansas. That is up from the 314.5 million bushels it had forecast just last month. If realized, this year's Kansas winter wheat will be a vast improvement over last year's drought-plagued crop of 246.4 million bushels. The agency also revised downward by 3 percent its total U.S. winter wheat production forecast, which is now expected to be 1.46 billion bushels. Its U.S. forecast for hard red winter wheat, the type most commonly grown in Kansas, is down 2 percent to 866 million bushels.