The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report as of July 19 shows both the southeast and southwest corners of North Dakota facing some degree of dryness. In total, roughly 15% of the state was facing some degree of dryness, which includes 1.05% classed as D2 or severe drought, 2.62% of the state classed as D1 or moderate drought and 11.46% classed as D0 or abnormally dry. Current USDA forecasts indicate the state is expected to produce roughly 50% of the country's spring wheat.
The impact of these drier conditions were noted in Tuesday's day one results of the 2016 Hard Spring Wheat and Durum Tour, which calculated an average spring wheat yield for the day of 43.1 bushels per acre from 173 stops. This compares to the 51.1 bpa average estimated on the same day in 2015 and the five-year average of 45 bpa.
The attached chart shows the trend in the state's spring wheat crop condition index for 2016 (blue line) as compared to last year (red line). As of Sunday July 24, the crop condition index, based on the USDA's weekly ratings, was calculated at 156, down for the fifth time in six weeks after reaching a high of 189 during the week of June 12. This is the lowest rating seen for this week since 2008 when the same week rating was 126.
Over the past five years (2011-2015), the state's spring wheat crop condition rating deteriorated between the rating calculated for the current week and the final rating calculated for the season in three out of the five years, with the average move lower of 8.7%.
Last year's crop tour resulted in an average spring wheat yield of 49.9 bpa, which compares to the official USDA estimate of 48 bpa.
The three-day tour will wrap up on Thursday.
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