USDA released their first 2009 crop progress report this week. At this time of year the condition of winter wheat is the main focus of the report. According to USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey, condition of the crop nationwide is very similar to last year's numbers.
"The crop is rated 43% good to excellent and 22% very poor to poor," Rippey said. "That compares to this time last year 45% good to excellent and 21% very poor to poor."
Very poor condition due to drought in the South Central U.S. is the main culprit behind these numbers. Texas in particular is in very bad shape with 64% of the wheat crop rated in poor to very poor condition.
"Despite the recent rain and snow that we've seen in late March and early April in that region we still have a crop that is stressed considerably by drought," Rippey said.
Wheat conditions tend to improve as you move farther north. According to Rippey several states have at least two-thirds of their wheat crop rated in good to excellent condition. Those states include California, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina and Ohio.