Winter wheat ratings show mixed changes

by Ron Sterk
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WASHINGTON — Aggregate ratings for the 2014 winter wheat crop declined slightly in the week ended April 13 as some key hard red winter states continued to show declining conditions, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its April 14 Crop Progress report.

Winter wheat overall was rated 34% good to excellent, 34% fair and 32% poor to very poor, down slightly from 35%, 36% and 29%, respectively, a week earlier and similar to 36%, 33% and 31%, respectively, a year ago.

But in the top-producing hard red winter state of Kansas, 26% of the crop was rated good to excellent, down from 29% a week earlier, 44% fair, the same as the prior week, and 30% poor to very poor, up from 27% a week earlier. In Oklahoma, only 14% of the crop was rated good to excellent, down from 15% the prior week, with 54% rated poor to very poor, up from 48% a week earlier. The Texas good to excellent rating was unchanged at 13%, but the poor to very poor rating was up 2 points to 63%.

Crop development lagged the average pace with 16% jointed in Texas (28% as the 2009-13 average for the date), and 4% in Oklahoma (21% average).

Condition ratings improved in six of the seven Central and south soft wheat states, with Michigan showing a slight decline at 57% good to excellent compared with 58% a week earlier. One per cent of the soft wheat was headed in Arkansas (29% as average) and in North Carolina (16% average).

Spring wheat planting was under way but also lagging the average pace in the Upper Midwest with 6% of the crop seeded in South Dakota (22% as the 2009-13 average) and 3% in Montana (8% average). Seeding was ahead of average at 56% in Idaho and 46% in Washington. The six-state aggregate planting number was 6% as of April 13, with seeding not yet under way in the key states of North Dakota and Minnesota.

The corn crop in the 18 major states was 3% planted as of April 13, slightly ahead of 2% a year ago but behind 6% as the 2009-13 average, the U.S.D.A. said. Planting in Illinois was 1% completed (10% as the average), Missouri 9% (16% average), Kansas 11% (9% average) and Nebraska 1% (1% average). Planting had not yet begun in top-producing Iowa.
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