Monday's crop conditions reports showed hard-red and soft-white winter wheat conditions in the northern states have been severely affected by heat and drought blanketing the Northern Plains and Pacific Northwest.
USDA's National Ag Statistics Service reported as of July 11, 59% of the winter crop is harvested. In the drought-stricken states, South Dakota is 16% done, Montana is 1%, Idaho is 7%, Washington is 10%, Oregon is 16% and North Dakota is 5%.
Winter wheat that is still waiting to be cut in those states is in mostly poor condition and the quality and protein of the crops is in question.
Here are the conditions as of July 11:
South Dakota: 58% poor/very poor, 34% fair, 8% good/excellent
Montana: 40% poor/very poor, 22% fair, 28% good/excellent
Idaho 43% poor/very poor, 32% fair, 25% good/excellent
Washington 40% poor/very poor, 48% fair, 12% good/excellent
Oregon 79% poor/very poor, 11% fair, 10% good/excellent
North Dakota 59% poor/very poor, 29% fair. 12% good/excellent
While it's true drought wheat is higher in protein, it also means test weight will be light, which will cut yields and, worse, downgrade the quality mills need for baking. Producers can be subject to hefty discounts and, on top of yield loss, many will likely be filing crop insurance claims on their 2021 winter wheat crop.
It is heartbreaking enough to have one poor crop, but producers in those states are facing a spring wheat crop that is in far worse shape.
Mary Kennedy can be reached at email@example.com
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