US winter wheat crops failed to show improvement again despite rains in the drought-hit southern Plains, with dryness worries growing in the north west of the country, and disease incidence taking a higher profile too.
The proportion of US winter rated “good” or “excellent” as of Sunday was 42%, for a third successive week, US Department of Agriculture data showed.
The stable rating defied expectations among many analysts of some improvement in the figure, after reports of rains to refresh crops in the central and southern Plains.
However, the proportion of winter wheat in Kansas, the top wheat growing state, rated “good” or “excellent” remained at a lowly 26%, with rains not proving as widespread as some market talk had indicated.
“Light precipitation was reported in eastern Kansas with amounts up to half an inch, while the west remained dry,” USDA scouts said.
In Oklahoma, development of the crop in the state’s western panhandle area “continued to suffer due to limited moisture and drought conditions”.
And while in Texas crop did improve, by 1 point to 52% rated good or excellent, storms did not prove an unqualified boon to seedlings with scouts reporting “hail damage” in some northern areas, and “some damage due to high winds” further south.
‘Decreased water levels’
Meanwhile, crops in some other states deteriorated, including in South Dakota, of which 69% is seen “short” or “very short” of topsoil moisture.
The proportion of South Dakota winter wheat rated good or excellent fell by two points to 23%.
And in the north western US, a major growing area for white wheat, ratings fell in Idaho, Oregon and Washington, the USDA data showed, following a caution last week from US Wheat Associates over the region’s harvest prospects.
In central Washington, “the lack of precipitation continued to be of concern, impacts were shown in decreased water levels in reservoirs along with ponds and lakes that are utilised by producers”.
In Oregon, scouts noted that in the north of the state in particular “drought impacts were beginning to show and the Deschutes River was running below normal levels”.
‘Chatter about disease and insects’
There is increasing talk of disease too in US winter wheat, although it is difficult to gauge yet how widespread infections are.
Broker CHS Hedging highlighted “chatter about disease and insects in some hard red winter wheat growing areas, with the possibility that could be the major find on the Wheat Quality Council Hard Winter Wheat Tour set for next week”.
In Oklahoma, Bob Hunger, Oklahoma State University Extension plant pathologist flagged a spread of many diseases of in wheat crops, particularly of stripe rust.
“My impression is that stripe rust has activated again with the cool and wet weather, and continues to spread across Oklahoma,” he said.
“Mite-transmitted viruses also are prevalent in Oklahoma this year.”
(Source – http://www.blackseagrain.net/novosti/us-wheat-rating-fails-to-improve-despite-much-needed-rain)