Winter wheat ratings mostly unchanged
by Ron Sterk
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WASHINGTON — The overall rating for the winter wheat crop showed only a marginal change, but there were numerous changes in individual state ratings, the U.S. Department of Agriculture in its weekly Crop Progress report released April 15.
The aggregate rating for the 18 major winter wheat states as of April 14 was 36% good to excellent (unchanged from a week earlier), 33% fair (34%) and 31% poor to very poor (30%). But those ratings were dismal compared with 64% good to excellent, 25% fair and 11% poor to very poor at the same time last year.
The disparity between mostly poor ratings in hard red winter states and mostly good to excellent ratings in soft winter states persisted, if not widened. Good to excellent ratings increased in two hard winter states, decreased in three and held steady in two, while good to excellent ratings rose in five of the seven soft wheat states.
Parts of the hard red winter growing region, mainly in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas and eastern Colorado, experienced freezing temperatures again during the past week, but the region also received much-needed additional moisture, which some saw as offsetting potential freeze damage that won’t be fully assessed for a few more days.
Wheat rated good to excellent as of April 14 was 30% in Kansas (31% a week ago), 25% in Oklahoma (28%), 17% in Texas (17%), 14% in Colorado (14%), 12% in Nebraska (11%), 52% in Montana (58%) and 5% good in South Dakota (3% good). Rated poor to very poor was 33% in Kansas (31% a week earlier), 37% in Oklahoma (33%), 50% in Texas (51%), 44% in Colorado (46%), 50% in Nebraska (51%), 13% in Montana (11%) and 73% in South Dakota (75%).
Meanwhile, growing conditions continued mostly favorable in the soft wheat growing areas.
Wheat rated good to excellent in Illinois was 77% (72% a week earlier), 67% in Indiana (68%), 66% in Ohio (64%), 75% in Missouri (73%), 64% in Arkansas (57%), 73% in North Carolina (70%) and 55% in Michigan (56%). Rated poor to very poor was 3% in Illinois (5% a week earlier), 2% in Indiana (2%), 3% in Ohio (4%), 1% in Missouri (1%), 7% in Arkansas (7%), 3% in North Carolina (4%) and 11% in Michigan (9%).