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Wheat Variables in Focus- U.S. Winter Wheat Condition Improves Slightly

Reuters writer Julie Ingwersen reported yesterday that, “The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly crop progress report rated 31% of the U.S. winter wheat crop in good to excellent condition, up 2 percentage points from a week earlier and above an average of analysts’ expectations.

USDA- National Agricultural Statistics Service. Charts and Maps- 2023 Crop Progress and Conditions (May 22, 2023).

“However, in Kansas, the top U.S. winter wheat producer, only 10% of the crop was rated good to excellent, unchanged from the prior week, and 69% of the state’s wheat was rated poor to very poor, up from 68% the week prior. Kansas has struggled with a three-year drought, forcing farmers in the hardest-hit areas to abandon their crops.”

USDA- National Agricultural Statistics Service. Charts and Maps- 2023 Crop Progress and Conditions (May 22, 2023).

Planting progress for spring wheat rose to 64%, up from 40% a week earlier and ahead of the average analyst estimate, but still behind the five-year average of 73%,” the Reuters article said.

DTN Managing Editor Anthony Greder reported yesterday that, “Corn planting moved ahead 16 percentage points last week, the same pace as the previous week, to reach 81% as of Sunday, May 21. That’s still 12 percentage points ahead of last year’s 69% and 6 points ahead of the five-year average of 75%. Notable states: Iowa and Illinois are 95% and 91% planted, respectively, and both are ahead of average, noted DTN Senior Analyst Dana Mantini. Minnesota corn is 80% planted, Nebraska is 87% and Missouri is 97% planted. North Dakota moved up 27 points to 32% planted compared to the 50% average.

Iowa Ag News – Crop Progress & Condition. Iowa Field Office- USDA- National Agricultural Statistics Service (May 22, 2023).

“Crop progress: 52% of corn had emerged as of Sunday, up 22 percentage points from the previous week and 7 percentage point ahead of the average of 45%.”

Greder added that, “Soybean planting sped up slightly last week, moving ahead 17 percentage points last week compared to a 14-percentage-point jump the previous week to reach 66% as of Sunday. That is 19 percentage points ahead of last year’s 47% and 14 points ahead of the five-year average of 52%. Notable states: Illinois and Iowa soybeans are at 84% and 85% planted, respectively, Mantini said. North Dakota gained 18 points to 20% planted — still behind the 33% average. Minnesota is 53% planted and just 4 points behind the average.”

Meanwhile, Reuters writer Michael Hogan reported today that,

Buyers in the United States have recently purchased about 210,000 tonnes of European Union origin wheat expected to be sourced from Poland and Germany, European traders said on Tuesday.

“The purchases were said to involve a total of around five shipments from Poland and two from Germany all of about 30,000 tonnes, they said.”

“‘With European wheat prices at 22-month lows the commercial calculation currently works for EU wheat into the United States,’ one trader said.”

Yesterday, Reuters writer Gus Trompiz reported that, “The European Union’s crop monitoring service on Monday raised its forecasts of this year’s EU soft wheat and rapeseed yields, citing a good crop outlook overall except in the drought-affected Iberian peninsula.”

“In a monthly report, MARS raised its projection of this year’s yield for soft wheat, the EU’s main cereal crop, to 6.01 tonnes per hectare (t/ha) from 5.96 t/ha expected last month.

“That was now 4% higher than both the 2022 level and the average of the past five years.”

Also yesterday, Bloomberg writers Megan Durisin and Souhail Karam reported that, “Scarce rains are crushing wheat harvests in North Africa, ushering in the region’s largest imports on record.

“The area is facing its ‘worst seasonal drought‘ in recent history, according to a report Monday from the European Union’s Monitoring Agricultural Resources Unit, which also tracks nearby countries. That will push wheat yields in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia 17% to 24% below the five-year average, with crop failures likely in some stretches.

“Lengthy North Africa Drought Ushers in Record Wheat Imports,” by Megan Durisin and Souhail Karam. Bloomberg News (May 22, 2023).

The shortfall in the region’s domestic crops could boost imports to a record 31.7 million tons in the 2023-24 season, the US Department of Agriculture forecast this month. North Africa is one of the world’s top wheat buyers and already has been buying large amounts from abroad after another bad drought last year.”

And Reuters writers Mayank Bhardwaj and Rajendra Jadhav reported yesterday that, “India’s wheat procurement in 2023 could fall by a fifth from the initial estimate as government purchases have slowed down in the last few days after local prices jumped, government officials and traders told Reuters.”

In other news, Dow Jones writer Kirk Maltais reported yesterday that, “Inspections of U.S. corn exports are up from last week, although still lagged behind the pace of this time last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.”

Also yesterday, Reuters writer Michelle Nichols reported that, “The United Nations expressed concern on Monday that Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Pivdennyi (Yuzhny) has not received any ships since May 2 under a deal allowing the safe wartime export of grain and fertilizer.

“U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric did not say who was to blame for the lack of ships traveling to the port, near Odesa, which is also where Russia used to pump up to 2.5 million tonnes of ammonia annually for export via a pipeline from Togliati.”

Keith Good Photo

Keith Good is the Farm Policy News editor for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, and compiled the daily News Summary from 2003-2015. He is a graduate of Purdue University (M.S.- Agricultural Economics), and Southern Illinois University School of Law.

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