Fundamentally Speaking

2021 U.S. Winter Wheat Crop Conditions

Joel Karlin
By  Joel Karlin , DTN Contributing Analyst
Chart by Joel Karlin, DTN Contributing Analyst

Despite recent pop in wheat, fact is that winter wheat crop conditions have improved in the U.S. Plains and Midwest, Europe, Russia and Ukraine over the past six weeks and as result many countries that had implemented or perhaps were thinking of tighter export restrictions have now re-assessed those policies in light of a brighter outlook for 2021 wheat production.

This week, USDA released its first national winter wheat condition report of the spring which showed 53% of crop in good or excellent condition and though down from year ago levels is still quite a bit improved from the final fall rating.

This graphic shows the last fall crop conditions for the U.S. winter wheat crop usually released the last week of November and the first spring ratings which are as of the first week of April.

We use our usual ratings system where we weight the crop based on the percent in each category and assign that category a factor of 2 for very poor, 4 for poor, 6 for fair, 8 for good, and 10 for excellent and then sum the results on the left hand axis.

On the right-hand axis is the percent that the USDA's May yield estimate, how the first one of the year deviates from the 30-year trend and also how the final U.S. winter wheat yield estimate also deviates from the 30-year trend.

This year's first spring rating of 676 is not far from long-term average of 681 and above the end of November 2020 reading of 658 that was well below the average of 706.

A similar first spring reading four years of of 680 resulted in the final winter wehat yiled that season coming in 2% above trend.

Keep in mind there is still much of the growing season to go through including the very critical heading process so good or bad weather here on out will have a lot to say as correlation between first spring conditions and final yield only 55%.

Interesting to note that the past six years when winter wheat conditions have improved through the winter and 10 of the past 13 occurences as seen this year the final wheat yield was above trend.


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