Winter wheat in the Plains, which battled dry conditions throughout the fall and winter, was rated 53% good to excellent in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's first nationwide crop report of the season, compared with last year's 59% rating.
However, widespread rain last week improved moisture conditions in the key growing states of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, which could help the crop in the weeks ahead.
Even the Kansas crop was in better condition than a week ago, with Monday's report putting the crop at 43% good/excellent, 37% fair, 15% poor and 5% very poor versus the prior week's 38% good/excellent, 37% fair, 18% poor and 7% very poor.
“Much-needed rain fell across the entire state. Every county averaged at least 1 in. of precipitation, with most counties averaging 2-3 in.,” the Kansas state report said.
Oklahoma's report noted that “multiple scattered showers and storms last week brought needed drought relief across most of Oklahoma, even though south central and east central rainfall totals were an inch below normal.”
Oklahoma's wheat conditions improved, with 41% rated good/excellent, 42% fair, 12% poor and 5% very poor versus the prior week's condition ratings of 38% good/excellent, 37% fair, 18% poor and 7% very poor.
In Texas, the wheat was rated 39% good/excellent, 44% fair, 14% poor and 3% very poor versus the prior week's rating of 34% good/excellent, 43% fair, 18% poor and 5% very poor.
In Texas, 33% of the wheat was headed, compared with 11% a year ago and the five-year average. Corn planting there was 56% completed and 25% emerged, compared with 41% and 20% a year ago and the five-year averages of 43% and 21%, respectively.
Topsoil moisture as of Sunday was rated 74% adequate to surplus in Kansas, 63% in Oklahoma and 68% in Texas.
Sorghum was 15% planted nationwide versus 13% a year ago and the 12% average. Texas was the furthest along, at 46%, versus 35% a year ago and the 32% average.
USDA discontinued its soybean harvest survey after last week's results showed that 97% of that crop was cut.
Winter wheat's condition rating slipped a point to 58% good to excellent (47% good and 11% excellent), which was better than 53% for the same week last year.
Iowa's corn harvest was at 98%, compared with the five-year average of 97%. The state had nearly a full week for fieldwork.
“Grain movement from farm to elevator was rated 51% moderate to heavy, down four percentage points from the previous week. Off-farm grain storage availability was rated 63% adequate to surplus. On-farm grain storage availability was rated 58% adequate to surplus,” the Iowa report said.
In Illinois, the corn harvest was 100% done versus the 98% average. Winter wheat in the state was rated 70% good/excellent, 26% fair, 1% poor and 3% very poor.
In Indiana, the corn harvest was 97% completed versus the 94% average. Winter wheat's condition declined a little to 67% good/excellent, 27% fair, 4% poor and 2% very poor.
“Growers have reported that some of the wheat that has not yet emerged was due to dry conditions after planting. Wheat conditions declined some this week partially due to ponding in the north and drought in the south,” Indiana said.
Total U.S. winter wheat planting is at 97% and emergence at 89%, versus the respective averages of 99% and 88%.
Kansas wheat slipped one point to 55% good/excellent after a week of warm, dry conditions. Montana's crops dropped two points to 76% good/excellent, Oklahoma was unchanged at 56% and the Texas crop dropped two points to 41%. Colorado's wheat rating dropped four points to 47% good/excellent, while Nebraska's improved a point to 54%.
Nationally, sorghum was 94% harvested versus the 92% average.