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U.S. winter wheat health among worst ever, yield prospects dicey

Updated Apr 7, 2022
The United States is also among the world’s leading suppliers of wheat. The U.S. Department of Agriculture late on Monday said 30% of U.S. winter wheat was in good or excellent condition as of April 3, well below the trade expectation for 40% and the year-ago 53%. That was the agency’s first national assessment of wheat conditions since late November. Crop health has rarely been this poor in early April. Only 27% of winter wheat in 1996 was good or excellent within the first 10 days of the month, and 2018 was close behind with 31%. Final yields were poor in 2018 but terrible in 1996. In fact, U.S. winter wheat yields have never been above the long-term trend when much less than 45% of the crop is good or excellent as of early April. Along with 1996, lousy harvests such as 1989, 2002 and 2014 were also in poor shape at this juncture. Records go back to 1986. This year’s crop, which should be harvested in June and July, was in bad health last fall as crops were sown into very dry ...
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