US Wheat Crop Posts Sharp Decline In Condition

Monday night saw the first of the USDA's weekly crop condition reports for wheat since November. With winter wheat lying dormant in the ground no national reports are produced between November and March.

The last set of figures we had to go on in November said that 65% of the young crop was in good/excellent condition and that 8% of the crop was rated poor/very poor.

Last night's numbers show the percentage of the crop rated in the top two categories has fallen sharply to 43%, a 22 point drop since November, the joint second largest fall since the USDA started producing weekly figures in 1986. The average good/excellent rating for this time of year is 54%.

Meanwhile, the poor/very poor category has increased from 8% to 22% during the same period.

In Kansas, the top producing winter wheat state, the percentage of the crop in the top two categories has fallen from 74% to 39%. Whilst in Oklahoma it is now 25% from 63% and in Texas 12% from 48%.

In Texas a whopping 64% of the crop is now rated poor/very poor.

These figures are based on crop conditions as of Sunday. It will be very interesting to see how next weeks numbers pan out given the widespread sub-zero temperatures forecast for last night.