Hello Pro Farmer Members!
Winter wheat crop condition ratings improved over winter. USDA's initial crop ratings of the spring showed 59% of the crop in "good" to "excellent" condition, up four percentage points from the final ratings last fall, 15 points ahead of last year and 12 percentage points greater than the 10-year average. When USDA’s condition ratings are plugged into the weighted Pro Farmer Crop Condition Index (0 to 500 point scale, with 500 being perfect), the HRW crop came in at 355.24, down 0.12 points from last fall but up 30.70 points from last year and 38.05 points higher than the 10-year average for the first week of April. The SRW CCI rating firmed 9.83 points from last fall to 376.81. That’s up 34.02 points from year-ago and 16.29 points higher than the 10-year average.
While the winter wheat crop is off to a seemingly strong start this spring, there are some potential hurdles. Dryness now covers 93.4% of Kansas, according to the National Drought Monitor, with 35.6% of the state experiencing moderate drought conditions. Drought to some degree now encompasses 73.2% of Oklahoma, while 26.0% of Texas is facing abnormally dry conditions or moderate drought. Meanwhile, freezing temps were expected across a large portion of the Midwest the mornings of April 9-10, which could impact some of the soft red winter wheat crop. Temps were expected to drop into the low 30s to low 20s across portions of Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Key for any crop impacts will be depth and length of the cold readings and the state of crop development. Illinois gave no indication of wheat development in its weekly recap, but Indiana reported 11% of wheat was jointing as of April 3.
The relatively strong start for the winter wheat crop this spring may have some positive yield implications. Our analysis suggests the 59% “good” to “excellent” rating to start spring implies a national average winter wheat yield that will be 0.5 bu. to 1.0 bu. per acre above trendline if there are normal weather conditions through harvest. Spring weather will have the final say on winter wheat yields.
Speaking of yields, some Members wondered what impact the sharp increase in corn acreage could have on yields. With big percentage rises in corn acres in “fringe” areas outside of the corn Belt, there may be a potential drag on the national average yield. However, our analysis shows any yield drag would likely be only 1 bu. to 1.5 bu. per acre. That would only “erase” 86 million to 129 million bu. of the roughly 560 million bu. of “extra” corn production implied by March intentions.
Summer weather will have a MUCH greater impact on yields than the sharp increase in acres.
That's it for now...
... have a great weekend!
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