WASHINGTON, D.C. – In its second 18-state aggregated crop condition report of the spring, the U.S. Department of Agriculture in its weekly Crop Progress report indicated winter wheat condition ratings as of April 7 were slightly better than ratings a week ago but well below year-earlier levels.

Winter wheat was rated 36% good to excellent, 34% fair and 30% poor to very poor as of April 7, compared with 34% good to excellent, 36% fair and 30% poor to very poor as of March 31, but well below the ratings on the same date for the previous year’s crop of 61% good to excellent, 29% fair and 10% poor to very poor.

There remained wide variations in crop ratings with the condition of wheat in most hard red winter states generally much worse than wheat in soft red winter states, with many of the latter having received adequate to ample moisture over the winter and early spring.

Not only has hard red winter wheat in all major states except Montana faced ongoing drought since last fall, there have been pockets of freeze damage in parts of western Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas and eastern Colorado since late March, with possibly more in forecasts for the same areas this week.

Good to excellent ratings improved in six of the seven major hard red winter wheat states and was unchanged in the seventh during the latest week. At the same time, poor to very poor ratings also increased in four of the seven hard red states, while decreasing slightly in two and holding steady in one.

Wheat rated good to excellent as of April 7 was 31% in Kansas (31% a week ago), 28% in Oklahoma (27%), 17% in Texas (16%), 14% in Colorado (12%), 11% in Nebraska (10%) and 58% in Montana (50%). What rated good was 3% in South Dakota (2% a week ago). Wheat rated poor to very poor was 31% in Kansas (29% a week earlier), 33% in Oklahoma (33%), 51% in Texas (49%), 46% in Colorado (42%), 51% in Nebraska (49%), 11% in Montana (12%) and 75% in South Dakota (76%).

Good to excellent ratings also improved in six of the seven soft winter wheat states. They declined in the seventh state. Poor to very poor ratings declined in six of the seven states and was steady in one soft red winter wheat state.

Wheat rated good to excellent in Illinois was 72% (68% in the week ended March 31), 68% in Indiana (64%), 64% in Ohio (56%), 73% in Missouri (69%), 57% in Arkansas (59%), 70% in North Carolina (65%) and 56% in Michigan (55%). Wheat tated poor to very poor was 5% in Illinois (5% a week earlier), 2% in Indiana (5%), 4% in Ohio (5%), 1% in Missouri (2%), 7% in Arkansas (9%), 4% in North Carolina (6%) and 9% in Michigan (14%).