Tale Of Two Wheat Crops

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It’s a tale of two wheat crops in the U.S. Plains winter wheat belt. In Kansas, the top U.S. wheat-growing state, Hard Red Winter wheat fields are flourishing, helped by recent snow and rain followed by a turn to sunny skies.

But in the key growing states of Oklahoma and Texas, the bulk of the new wheat crop is in bad shape, stricken first by a lack of adequate moisture and then by a killing freeze.

“We had deterioration in Oklahoma and Texas. That crop did get damaged and it continues to struggle,” said Prudential Financial analyst Shawn McCambridge. “When you go into Kansas and north, the crop is in decent shape.

“Depending on the rest of the growing season, we could see higher yields in Kansas and north offset the projected losses in the southern Plains,” McCambridge said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s crop condition report on Monday rated the overall new U.S. winter wheat crop 43 per cent good to excellent, up from 42 per cent a week earlier.

But 27 per cent was in poor to very poor shape, up from 25 per cent a week earlier, while 30 per cent was only “fair.” Kansas, the top U.S. wheat-growing state, had 44 per cent of its new crop rated good to excellent and only 16 per cent rated poor to very poor.

Oklahoma, another top U. S. wheat-growing state, was in far worse shape. Some farmers there estimated yields had been cut to less than 10 bushels an acre in some areas due to extensive freeze damage.

Agricultural officials in Oklahoma reported Monday that 60 per cent of the new crop there was poor to very poor.

Conditions were even worse in Texas, typically one of the top three winter wheat-growing states. The crop there was rated 74 per cent poor to very poor. Only 10 per cent was rated good to excellent, with 16 per cent considered in fair shape.

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