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Hard Red Spring Wheat Crop Condition Declines
North Dakota Ag Connection - 06/15/2017

As expected, the overall condition rating of the U.S. hard red spring wheat crop declined from the previous week due to continued drought stress in much of the region. The June 11 USDA report has 45 percent of the national crop in good to excellent condition, and 20 percent poor to very poor. This is well below the 2016 crop ratings at this time when 79 percent was rated good to excellent, and just 2 percent in the poor category. The weekly drop was fairly notable with a 10 percent decline in the good to excellent and a 10 percent increase in the poor to very poor.

There is quite an extreme difference in crop condition ratings from east to west in the region with Minnesota showing 93 percent of its crop in good to excellent condition and 0 percent poor to very poor, compared to just 23 percent good to excellent in Montana, and 31 percent poor to very poor. The lowest crop ratings are in South Dakota where nearly 60 percent of the crop is rated poor to very poor, and just 13 percent good to excellent.

Rain was received across the region in the past 24 hours, with central and eastern parts of the region benefitting the most. The rains are certainly welcome, and should help stabilize crop ratings where totals reached notable levels, but most areas of the region received less than predicted levels of rain, with the more critically dry western half of the region especially falling short of needed relief. The next couple of days have continued chances for precipitation, but extended forecasts call for a shift back to warmer and drier conditions. Portions of the 2017 crop will not be harvested due to the extended dry conditions, disappointing recent trends in rainfall, and a sharp increase in the value of wheat for hay due to quickly deteriorating pasture and hay crops in the most drought stressed parts of the region. More frequent rains and a much broader coverage of precipitation is needed for the U.S. spring wheat region.

Emergence of the spring wheat crop is pegged at 95 percent complete, slightly below a year ago when 99 percent was emerged, but ahead of the 5 year average of 92 percent. Emergence of the crop in Montana is estimated at 83 percent, well behind average and a year ago with dry top soils hampering emergence in areas. Portions of the regional crop have reached the heading stage and the earliest planted crops are being hastened in maturity, especially where moisture is lacking.

The durum crop in North Dakota slipped further in condition ratings the week of June 4 to June 11, with only 20 percent rated good and 8 percent poor to very poor. Some parts of the region have received beneficial rains, but the majority of the main durum region is still in critical need of precipitation. Nearly 100 percent of the North Dakota durum crop has emerged, ahead of the average of 79 percent for this date. The heat and dry conditions in recent weeks are accelerating crop development with 45 percent at the jointing stage, compared to an average of 24 percent for this date. In Montana, no condition ratings are available for the crop, but overly dry soils continue to hamper crop emergence, with just 66 percent emerged, compared to 89 percent last year and 77 percent on average.

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