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Serving: United States

USDA crop progress: Agency’s first report for 2018 debuts

colincarmichael/ThinkstockPhotos Winter wheat crop sprouting
Winter wheat crops continue to struggle; sorghum and cotton planting begin.

The 2018 planting season is already underway for some crops, and USDA marks the occasion by rolling out its first Crop Progress report of the year. Subsequent reports are out every Monday afternoon through November.

USDA’s first look at the 2018 winter wheat crop shows it continues to struggle. Among the top 18 winter wheat production states, which account for 90% of the nation’s acreage, only 32% of the crop is in good to excellent condition, compared to 51% a year ago. Another 38% of this year’s crop is in fair condition, with the last 30% rated poor to very poor.

A few Midwestern states have been able to buck that trend, including Michigan (65% GE) and Ohio (75% GE). The nation’s western winter wheat production also significantly exceeds nationwide GE average ratings.

USDA’s first Crop Progress of the year also has some preliminary information on planting progress for some key southern row crops, including cotton and rice.

Southern sorghum planting has also begun in Louisiana (10% complete) and Texas (42%), with the nationwide progress now at 9%. That’s slightly behind the five-year average of 11%.

Cotton planting is only 7% complete, with 11% of the Texas crop and 23% of the Arizona crop now in the ground. That pace is tracking ahead of the five-year average of 3%.

The pace of rice planting is also slightly ahead of the five-year average of 13%, with 17% of the crop now in the ground. Texas (61%) and Louisiana (62%) have made the most progress, with planting just underway in Arkansas (6%) and Mississippi (7%).

Rice emergence, meantime, is at 6%, compared to a five-year average of 4%.

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