Winter wheat ratings mixed in latest week

by Laura Lloyd
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KANSAS CITY – States such as Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma showed small, mixed shifts in winter wheat crop condition ratings in summaries for March 11-17 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, whose field offices have been reporting weekly on those crop conditions during March.

Kansas, the top hard red winter wheat producing state, rated 29% of the crop in good to excellent condition, an improvement from 27% in the previous week, the U.S.D.A.’s Kansas Field Office said Monday.

Texas saw a small decline in good-to-excellent rated winter wheat in the latest week to 16%, down from 18% the previous week, said the U.S.D.A. Texas Field Office.

Oklahoma picked up a few percentage points in the good-to-excellent category. The state’s U.S.D.A. Field Office said 24% of the winter wheat crop was rated good to excellent, up from 20% in the previous week.
Large percentages of the crops in these three states continued to be rated poor to very poor because of continuing drought, but both Kansas and Oklahoma saw declines of these lowest-rated categories compared with a week earlier. In Kansas, a total of 29% of the 2013 crop was rated poor to very poor in the latest week, a decline from 32% in the previous week. Texas saw 44% of its crop rated poor to very poor, the same as the previous week. Oklahoma saw a decline in poor-to-very-poor wheat conditions in the latest week to 37%, down from 41% the prior week.

Soil moisture levels remained a concern in all three states, each one reporting less than 5% surplus moisture in the most recent week. In Kansas, a total of 48% of the state had adequate moisture, while 30% was short and 19% was very short, little changed from the previous week.

“The Kansas wheat crop has started to green up with the warmer temperatures. Producers were top dressing wheat and cool season grasses. Lack of soil moisture is a concern for spring planting and for development of the wheat crop,” said the Kansas U.S.D.A. Field Office.

Texas reported 27% of the state had adequate oil moisture, while 41% was short and 31% was very short. “Dry conditions continued to be a problem, with winds depleting soil moisture,” said the Texas Field Office.

Oklahoma said 53% of the state had adequate soil moisture in the latest week, down from 57% the previous week and 63% a year ago, while 32% was short and 14% was very short.

“March is off to a dry start, and six of the nine districts have received less than half of normal precipitation for the period since March 1,” said the Oklahoma Field office.

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