Key crops coming closer to five-year U.S.D.A. averages

by Laura Lloyd
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KANSAS CITY — The effects of rain-related delays in planting key crops such as corn, soybeans and spring wheat appear to be fading as development moves closer to five-year averages. Data in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Crop Progress report released June 17 indicated producers have come relatively close to catching up with previous years while crop conditions did not suffer.

The amount of the corn crop that has emerged at 92% was five percentage points behind the five-year average of 97% in the 18 main corn-growing states, the U.S.D.A. said. The condition of the crop was little changed with 64% rated good to excellent, compared with 63% the previous week and 63% at the same time last year.

Soybeans planted as of June 16 were 85%, lagging the five-year average of 91% by six percentage points, but emergence at 66% lagged the average of 80% a bit more significantly. In its first condition report of the season, the crop was deemed 64% good to excellent, up from last year’s good-to-excellent rating of 56% at the same date.

The percentage of winter wheat that has headed in the 18 main winter wheat-growing states at 89% was near the five-year average of 91%, but harvest at 11% completed was a couple of weeks behind the average of 25%, according to U.S.D.A. data. The percentage of the crop in good-to-excellent condition at 31% remained the same as the previous week but was well below 54% a year earlier.

Spring wheat planted in the six main states as of June 16 was 92% completed, behind 97% as the five-year average. Planting in top-producing North Dakota — which has been plagued by excessive rainfall — was 86% completed compared with 96% as the average. Spring wheat emerged was 84% as of June 16, down from the 94% five-year average. The portion of the crop rated good-to-excellent by the U.S.D.A. was 68%, up from 62% the previous week but below 76% at the same time last year.

This year’s winter and spring wheat crops, as well as corn and soybeans, haven’t developed as rapidly in 2013 as they did in 2012. Planting and crop progress last year was unusually early because of a warm, dry spring that eventually developed into the worst drought in 50 years. Weather conditions in 2013 have been markedly different —primarily wet and cool — and areas remaining in drought comprise primarily the western edges of growing areas.

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