Market News & Headlines >> Winter Wheat Ratings Down Again

U.S. winter wheat crop conditions deteriorated further last week despite some heavy rains in parts of the Plains HRW wheat belt, while spring wheat planting continued to lag behind last year and the five-year average, according to Monday’s weekly crop update from USDA.

USDA rated U.S. winter wheat conditions 29% good/excellent and 44% poor/very poor, as of Sunday, down from 30% good/excellent and 42% poor/very poor a week earlier. At the same time last year, conditions were rated 31% good/excellent and 41% poor/very poor. USDA said 57% of the crop was heading, in line with the five-year average of 58% and ahead of last year’s 41%.

Spring wheat producers were estimated to have planted 49% of their intended acres, down from 64% last year and the five-year average of 68%. Some 24% of the spring wheat crop had emerged as of Sunday, vs. 20% last year and the average of 40%.

Condition ratings for the top winter wheat growing state of Kansas declined a bit further to 12% good/excellent and 59% poor/very poor, compared with 13% good/excellent and 56% poor/very poor a week earlier. The Oklahoma crop, meanwhile, was rated just 5% good and 78% poor/very poor, down from 6% good and 75% poor/very poor previously.

In contrast, crop conditions remained generally favorable in major SRW wheat growing states. The Illinois crop was rated 62% good/excellent, down slightly from 63% a week earlier. The Ohio crop was rated 58% good/excellent, up from 55% previously, while the Missouri crop was rated 52% good/excellent up from 51%.

Last week’s rains largely missed key growing areas in the western third of Kansas, western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle. The 6- to 10-day forecast does strongly favor above-normal rainfall for that area, but it will be too late to help most fields and may only delay the start of harvesting.

Some 89% of the Texas winter wheat crop was already heading as of Sunday, against the five-year average of 88%, while 96% of the Oklahoma crop was heading versus an average of 94% and 71% of the Kansas crop was heading.