USDA Weekly Crop Progress - First Crop Progress Report of Season Shows Worst Winter Wheat Conditions

OMAHA (DTN) -- U.S. winter wheat appears to be starting off the 2018 growing season in the worst condition in over a decade, according to USDA's first weekly Crop Progress report issued Monday.

For the week ended April 1, 2018, winter wheat was rated only 32% in good-to-excellent condition, well below 51% at the same time last year and the lowest good-to-excellent rating since 2002.

Based on USDA's condition ratings, DTN's Winter Wheat Index was 65, also the lowest rating since 2002. Top winter-wheat-producing state Kansas reported only 10% of its crop in good-to-excellent condition.

Meanwhile, for the crops USDA included in its report this week, planting was progressing at a near-average pace. Sorghum was 9% planted, compared to 13% last year and an 11% five-year average. Cotton planting was 7% complete, compared to 3% last year and a 3% average. Rice was 17% planted, compared to 15% last year and a 13% average.

Oats were 26% planted as of April 1, compared to 24% last year and a 29% average. Emergence was at 25%, compared to 21% last year and a 25% average.

Nationwide, based on reports from 48 states, topsoil moisture was rated 24% very short to short compared to 14% last year and 76% adequate to surplus compared to 86% last year. Subsoil moisture was rated 28% short to very short compared to 19% last year and 72% adequate to surplus compared to 81% last year.

The following are highlights from weekly crop progress reports issued by National Ag Statistics Service offices in individual states. T

Colorado

Spring fieldwork was well underway last week across the state. Isolated moisture was received in areas, but not enough to provide any real relief from drought conditions. Producers statewide were noted to be fertilizing and spraying for weeds where conditions allowed. Days suitable for fieldwork last week were 5.7, down from the previous week's 6.3 days. Topsoil moisture was 25% very short, 37% short, 37% adequate and 1% surplus. Subsoil moisture was 21% very short, 24% short, 54% adequate and 1% surplus. Barley was 3% planted with the five-year average 10%. Spring wheat planted was 8%, which is the five-year average. Winter wheat pastured was 7% with the five-year average of 9%. Winter wheat jointed was 1% with the five-year average of 2%. Winter wheat crop condition was 22% very poor to poor, 39% fair and 39% good to excellent.

Illinois

Colder temperatures and rain were reported throughout the state last week. There were 1.1 days suitable for fieldwork. The average temperature was 41.9 degrees, 4.9 degrees below normal. Precipitation averaged 1.71 inches, 0.79 inch above normal. Topsoil moisture supply was rated at 3% short, 60% adequate and 37% surplus. Subsoil moisture supply was rated at 1% very short, 13% short, 65% adequate and 21% surplus. Winter wheat headed 2%. Winter wheat condition 7% very poor, 9% poor, 38% fair, 40% good and 6% excellent.

Indiana

Cool temperatures and steady precipitation for the greater part of the week left fields saturated. Gloomy weather conditions prevailed across the state last week. The average temperature for the week was 44 degrees Fahrenheit, 2.4 degrees below normal for the state. Precipitation amounts in different parts of the state ranged from 0.35 inch to 3.71 inches over the week. There was one day suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture was 0% very short, 2% short, 46% adequate and 52% surplus. Subsoil moisture was 1% very short, 3% short, 53% adequate and 43% surplus. Winter wheat crop condition was 8% very poor to poor, 33% fair and 59% good to excellent.

Iowa

Cold, wet weather prevented fieldwork across most of Iowa last week. Statewide, there was just 0.4 day suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture levels were rated 3% very short, 9% short, 73% adequate and 15% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels were rated 4% very short, 14% short, 74% adequate and 8% surplus. Northwest Iowa reported the highest surplus subsoil moisture level at 22% while parts of south-central and southeast Iowa remain in abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions, according to the March 27, 2018, U.S. Drought Monitor. Two percent of oats have been planted, four days behind last year's progress at this time and three days behind the five-year average.

Kansas

There were 5.5 days suitable for fieldwork last week. Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 33% very short, 35% short, 31% adequate and 1% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies were rated 29% very short, 43% short, 28% adequate and 0% surplus. Winter wheat condition was rated 13% very poor, 34% poor, 43% fair, 10% good and 0% excellent. Corn planting was underway in southern counties and was 1% complete statewide, near 3% last year and 2% for the five-year average.

Michigan

There were 2.4 days suitable for fieldwork in Michigan last week. Cold and wet weather during the week slowed the start of fieldwork in many areas. Some producers experienced snow while others experienced rain. The ground was still frozen in the northern parts of the state, while cool, wet soil conditions kept some producers out of their fields in many southern locations. Winter wheat was coming out of dormancy in some areas, but in other areas it had yet to show signs of greening. Some oat planting occurred on lighter soils. Other fieldwork activities during the week included hauling manure, equipment maintenance and spreading fertilizer. Winter wheat condition was rated 65% good to excellent. Winter wheat jointing was 1% completed, while oats planted are at 2% completed. Topsoil moisture was rated 11% short, 61% adequate and 28% surplus. Subsoil moisture was rated 11% short, 63% adequate and 26% surplus.

Minnesota

Limited field activities occurred across Minnesota with only 0.1 days suitable for fieldwork last week. Precipitation and cool soil temperatures were reported across the state. Reported field activities for the week were minimal with some farmers spreading manure when the ground was solid enough to support the machines. Farmers were also working on preparing equipment for the spring planting season. Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 0% very short, 2% short, 62% adequate and 36% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies were rated 0% very short, 4% short, 77% adequate and 19% surplus.

Missouri

Average temperatures for the week were below average with heavy precipitation in the southern half of the state. Temperatures last week averaged 44.4 degrees, 5.1 degrees below normal. Precipitation averaged 2.42 inches statewide, 1.42 inches above normal. There were 1.2 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supply was rated 2% very short, 8% short, 64% adequate and 26% surplus. Subsoil moisture supply was rated 3% very short, 15% short, 72% adequate, and 10% surplus. Winter Wheat condition was rated 45% good to excellent.

Nebraska

There were 3.3 days suitable for fieldwork last week. Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 2% very short, 18% short, 73% adequate and 7% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies were rated 2% very short, 23% short, 73% adequate and 2% surplus. Winter wheat condition was rated 51% good to excellent. Oats planted was 10%, behind 25% last year and 20% for the five-year average.

North Dakota

There was 0.1 day suitable for fieldwork statewide last week. Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 9% very short, 34% short, 53% adequate and 4% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 13% very short, 37% short, 49% adequate and 1% surplus. Winter wheat condition rated 32% good to excellent.

Ohio

There was less than one day suitable for fieldwork in Ohio last week. Colder-than-normal temperatures kept crops behind typical progress to start the 2018 season. A wintry mix of rain and snow blanketed the state starting mid-week and resulted in higher-than-normal levels of precipitation and saturated fields. Soil temperatures remained in the mid- to low-40s throughout the state. Statewide, topsoil moisture was rated 1% short, 38% adequate and 61% surplus. Subsoil moisture was rated 3% short, 44% adequate and 53% surplus. Winter wheat condition was rated 75% good to excellent.

Oklahoma

Most of Oklahoma received 1 to 3 inches of rainfall last week, which significantly reduced drought across the state, except for the Panhandle, west-central and southwest districts. The state average rainfall total for the week was 1.59 inches with the east-central district recording the highest totals at 3.92 inches. As of March 27, drought conditions were rated 35% extreme to exceptional drought, unchanged from the previous week, and 15% exceptional drought, up 7 points from the previous week. Statewide, temperatures averaged in the mid-50s. Topsoil and subsoil moisture conditions were rated mostly very short to adequate. There were 5.2 days suitable for fieldwork. Corn planted reached 4%. Winter wheat jointing reached 46%, down 8 points from normal. Canola blooming reached 16%, down 2 points from normal. Rye jointing reached 38%, down 24 points from the previous year and down 15 points from normal. Oats jointing reached 18%, down 15 points from the previous year but up 6 points from normal.

South Dakota

There was 0.2 day suitable for fieldwork statewide last week. Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 6% very short, 22% short, 69% adequate and 3% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies were rated 13% very short, 32% short, 54% adequate and 1% surplus. Winter wheat condition was rated 17% good to excellent.

Texas

Cooler temperatures were reported across the state last week. The Trans-Pecos, Northern High Plains and areas of the Edwards Plateau received little to no rain, but the rest of the state received between 0.5 inch and 3 inches of rain. Areas of east and south-central Texas and the Upper Coast received up to 6 inches of rain. There were 4.7 days suitable for fieldwork. Statewide, topsoil moisture was rated 54% very short to short and 46% adequate to surplus. Subsoil moisture was rated 52% very short to short and 48% good to excellent. Corn was 55% planted as of Sunday, ahead of the five-year average of 42%. Corn emerged was 26%, ahead of the average of 17%. Cotton was 11% planted, ahead of the average of 5%. Rice was 61% planted, well ahead of the average of 31%, and emerged was 19%, also well ahead of the average of 7%. Sorghum was 42% planted, ahead of the average of 32%. Winter wheat was 11% headed, near the average pace of 12%. Winter wheat was rated 15% in good-to-excellent condition. Oats were 26% headed, ahead of the average of 16%. Oat conditions were rated 35% good to excellent.

Wisconsin

Temperatures were close to normal across the state last week, with a cold front pushing into northern Wisconsin over the weekend. Northern portions of the state received heavy snow on top of preexisting snowpack, keeping fields inaccessible. Warm periods in February and March combined with lower-than-normal precipitation to keep fields bare in much of southern Wisconsin. However, cold nights meant soils were still frozen in many areas. Statewide, topsoil moisture supplies were rated 3% very short, 14% short, 72% adequate and 11% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies were rated 2% very short, 12% short, 79% adequate and 7% surplus. As of April 1, spring tillage was 1% complete statewide, the same as last year. Oats planted were reported as 2% complete. Statewide, 46% of the winter wheat crop was reported in good-to-excellent condition.

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