Market News & Headlines >> Winter Wheat Ratings Up Again

The condition rating for the U.S. winter wheat crop improved more than expected last week even though conditions slipped a bit in the top growing state of Kansas. 

USDA rated nationwide winter wheat conditions 61% good/excellent as of Sunday, up from 59% a week earlier and 43% a year earlier. Trade estimates of winter wheat conditions averaged 60% good/excellent in a Reuters News Service survey. The crop is also maturing faster than normal, with 42% said to be headed as of Sunday, up from 39% a year earlier and the five-year average of 34%. 

The good/excellent rating for the Kansas winter wheat crop slipped to 52% from 53% previously despite further rainfall across much of the state. Too much rain may have been the problem as some locations in northeast Kansas received up to 5 inches last week, according to the state office of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. 

Drier weather this week should allow the Kansas crop to take advantage of good soil moisture conditions. Statewide topsoil moisture was rated 89% adequate/surplus, with subsoil moisture 83% adequate/surplus.  The Kansas crop is developing quickly with 49% headed ahead of last year’s 34% and well ahead of the average of 28%. 

The good/excellent rating for the crop in the No. 2 HRW wheat state of Oklahoma rose 5 percentage points on the week to 64%, with only 5% rated poor. In Texas, conditions improved slightly to 49% good/excellent from 48% previously. Colorado crop conditions improved to 65% good/excellent from 61%, while Nebraska conditions improved to 61% good/excellent from 60%. 

Midwest SRW wheat conditions remained strong with the Ohio crop rated 82% good/excellent, up from 79% previously and the Indiana crop rating steady at 78% good/excellent. Illinois SRW wheat conditions were also unchanged at 68% good/excellent, while Missouri conditions improved to 68% good/excellent from 66% a week earlier. 

Meanwhile, spring wheat seedings continued to progress at a better-than-average pace. Spring wheat seedings were estimated at 54% complete as of Sunday, behind last year’s extremely fast pace of 69%, but ahead of the 5-year average of 39%. Seedings were 39% complete in the top spring wheat state of North Dakota versus an average pace of 28%.