Winter wheat sprouts on dewy day. 1540x800 HaiGala/Thinkstock

USDA: Winter wheat condition down a little from a year ago

Rain helps Plains wheat in latest week.

Winter wheat in the Plains that battled dry conditions throughout the fall and winter was rated in USDA’s first nationwide crop report of the season at 53% good to excellent versus last year’s 59%.

However, widespread rain last week improved moisture conditions in the key states of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, which could help the crop in the weeks ahead.

Even the Kansas crop was better than a week ago, with Monday’s report putting the crop at 43% good/excellent, 37% fair, 15% poor and 5% very poor versus the prior week’s 38% good/excellent, 37% fair, 18% poor and 7% very poor.

“Much needed rain fell across the entire state. Every county averaged at least one inch of precipitation, with most counties averaging two to three inches,” the Kansas report said.

Oklahoma’s report said “multiple scattered showers and storms last week brought needed drought relief across most of Oklahoma, even though South Central and East Central rainfall totals were an inch below normal.”

Oklahoma’s wheat improved with 41% good/excellent, 42% fair, 12% poor and 5% very poor verus the prior week of 38% good/excellent, 37% fair, 18% poor and 7% very poor.

In Texas, the wheat was rated 39% good/excellent, 44% fair, 14% poor and 3% very poor, versus the prior week’s 34% good/excellent, 43% fair, 18% poor and 5% very poor.

In Texas, 33% of the wheat was headed, compared with 11% for a year ago and the five-year average. Corn planting there was 56% done with 25% emerged versus 41% and 20% a year ago and the 43% and 21% averages.

Topsoil moisture as of Sunday was rated 74% adequate to surplus in Kansas, 63% in Oklahoma and 68% in Texas.

Sorghum was 15% planted nationwide, versus 13% a year ago and the 12% average. Texas was the farthest along at 46%, versus 35% a year ago and the 32% average.

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