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US spring wheat planting hits 84%, winter wheat conditions drop sharply

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US spring wheat planting hits 84%, winter wheat conditions drop sharply

New Delhi — A total of 84% of spring wheat for the 2019-20 crop has been planted through May 26 across the major wheat-producing states in the US, up from 70% planting completed in the previous week, the US Department of Agriculture said.

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However, total spring wheat planting progress is still behind the year-ago pace of 89%, and the five-year average of 91%, according to the USDA data released Tuesday.

Spring wheat planting generally begins in mid-April through May, while harvesting is done from mid-August through September. Winter wheat harvesting begins from mid-May and lasts through July.

Farmers have struggled to plant crops like corn and soybean due to adverse weather conditions prevailing in the Midwest, where severe storms have disrupted the pace of planting. Analysts expect the inclement weather to put pressure on overall corn acreage and crop yields, and eventually weigh down on US exports.

To some extent, wet weather issues have also spilled over to wheat crops. Oklahoma, one of the key winter wheat-producing states, could see excessive rainfall negatively impacting wheat crops, according to a report from the Kansas State University. Wheat harvest in Oklahoma should have started now, but the region has been experiencing rains recently, an analyst said.

According to the USDA, winter wheat is headed 66% in key producing states, higher than last week's 54%, but behind the year-ago pace of 71% and the five-year average of 76%.

Heading occurs when the head of the wheat plant fully emerges from the stem.

A total of 61% of winter wheat crop in the major states is in "good and excellent" condition, compared to 66% seen last week, the data showed.

The current week saw significant reductions in winter wheat conditions, with the overall US aggregate on the Winter Wheat Condition Index slipping from last week's levels, according to Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist at financial services firm INTL FCStone.

-- Rohan Somwanshi, rohan.somwanshi@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Manish Parashar, newsdesk@spglobal.com