Weekly Crop Progress Reports Show Further Declines in Winter Wheat

USDA released their weekly crop progress report on Monday and the results reflected further declines in the overall state of the U.S. Hard Red Winter wheat crop. Winter wheat conditions as a whole fell 2% to stand at 31% good to excellent compared to last year’s rating at this time of 32%.  While Illinois (Soft Red Wheat) did see a 2% decline in condition, the move was almost entirely attributable to losses in NE (-10%), Kansas (-4%) and Oklahoma (-3%).  A bad as the rating sound, it’s really the threat of further drought that is reported to be a concern, as 3 of the past four years have seen similar ratings at this time.  Forecasts for this week are calling for Oklahoma, Kansas and parts of Nebraska to see temperatures in reaching into the mid 90’s to 100’s.  Winds could also be a problem, especially in areas of western Kansas where drought monitors are showing soils are already in a severe drought.
As for the row crops, corn planting moved along, although slowly, and was reported at 29% complete compared to 42% on average and 19% the week before.  That number is leaps and bounds ahead of last year at this time, which was only 11%.  On a state by state basis, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas are all at or ahead of average progress while Minnesota and North Dakota were barely able to move at all due to ongoing rains.  Illinois is reporting 43% complete compared to their five year average of 41%, although both Iowa and Indiana are behind.  Forecasts for this week remain mixed, so progress is expected to continue plodding slowly on.  Corn emergence was reported at 7%, also behind average.
This was only the second week of reporting for soybean planting progress, and with corn behind, it’s only normal that soybeans remain slow as well.  Progress was reported at 5% complete, up from 3% last week but behind the 11% average.  Most analysts, though, agree that its too early to be concerned.
Spring Wheat planting was another story, however, as the same weather that kept a cap on corn planting in North Dakota and Minnesota kept wheat progress under wraps.  Progress on a national basis was reported at 26% complete, behind the five year average of 41% and just ahead of last year at 18%.  The delays are almost entirely attributable to North Dakota and Minnesota, each of which advanced only 2% last week.  Of the upper plains, South Dakota was 59% planted (64% on average), Montana was 37% planted (41% average), North Dakota was 5% planted (28% average) and Minnesota was 4% planted (45% on average).