Winter Wheat Conditions Continue to Deteriorate

March 18, 2014 03:30 AM

Winter wheat condition ratings continued their decline over the past week, as the crop is breaking dormancy under drought conditions. In addition, central Kansas has seen some of the crop eliminated via winterkill.

Texas experienced the most notable decline in condition ratings. As of the week ended March 16, as just 13% of the crop is now rated in "good" to "excellent" condition versus 28% last week. More than half the crop (52%) is now rated in the bottom two categories, versus 31% last week. The state condition report also noted that winter wheat in the Backlands continue to suffer from the prior week's freezing temperatures.

Twenty percent of the Kansas winter wheat crop is now rated "poor" to "very poor," which is up 2 percentage points from the week prior. "Windy conditions and limited precipitation across much of the state drew down topsoil moisture supplies, with much of the western half of Kansas continuing in severe drought," according to USDA's National Ag Statistics Service. The report also noted that below normal temps limited wheat development, which remained behind last year and average.

Winter wheat crop conditions declined in Oklahoma as well; 37% of the state's crop is now rated "poor" to "very poor," which is up 6 percentage points from week-ago. The state condition report noted that the majority of the state is rated in moderate to severe drought. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 25% adequate to surplus and 75% short to very short. Subsoil moisture conditions are rated 82% short to very short, according to the report.

Colorado joined the mix of reporting states on crop conditions this week. The first condition ratings of 2014 peg the winter wheat crop at 35% "good" to "excellent" and 32% "poor" to "very poor." This represents marked deterioration since the last 2013 condition update from USDA (dated Nov. 25), in which USDA rated 55% of the crop "good" to "excellent" and just 6% of the crop "poor" to "poor."

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