Spring planting has begun for some summer crops in a growing season that grain buyers will watch closely following a year of widespread drought and low yields. Adverse weather has delayed some planting and damaged the condition of winter wheat crops in some areas, and those conditions are reflected in the latest Crop Progress report from USDA.
Farmers in Southern states are making progress in planting their sorghum crops, with 41 percent planted in Texas, 37percent in Louisiana and 2 percent in Arkansas. Each of those totals is behind last-year’s pace though, as cool, wet weather has delayed planting in some areas. Nationally, as of April 7, 16 percent of the crop is planted, compared with 19 percent on the same date last year and 19 percent for the five-year average for the date.
Next week, the report is expected to include corn plantings for the first time this year.
Nationally, the winter wheat crop is struggling compared with last year, although crop conditions vary widely between regions and states. Across the top 18 winter-wheat states, 36 percent of the crop is rated good to excellent while 30 percent is poor or very poor. Last year at this time, 61 percent rated good to excellent and just 10 percent rated poor or very poor.
In California, 95 percent of the crop rates good to excellent. Other states with a high percentage of winter wheat in good to excellent condition include Illinois at 72 percent, Indiana at 68 percent, Missouri at 73 percent, North Carolina at 70 percent, Oregon at 67 percent and Washington at 78 percent.
Conditions are far less favorable in several key wheat states though. In Kansas, 31 percent of the crop rates good to excellent while another 31 percent rates poor to very poor. In Oklahoma, 28 percent rates good to excellent and 33 percent rates poor or very poor, while 17 percent of the crop in Texas is in good to excellent condition and 51 percent rates poor or very poor.
View the latest Crop Progress report from USDA.