The U.S. winter-wheat crop is in worse condition than last year at this time as dry weather slows plant development. The country’s corn and soybean harvests are nearing completion.
About 47 percent of the winter wheat was rated good or excellent as of yesterday, down from 62 percent a year ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in its first report on crop conditions. About 88 percent of the crop was planted in 18 states, mostly in the Midwest and Great Plains, compared with 80 percent a week earlier and 77 percent a year earlier.
A government vegetative health index shows increasing stress on crops from Colorado to Ohio, said Joel Widenor, the director of agricultural services at the Commodity Weather Group LLC. About a quarter of the area planted with hard-red winter- wheat and possibly half of the soft-red wheat area in the Midwest has been too dry for seed germination and crop development, Widenor said.