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Spring Wheat Crop Quality Tumbles, Some Farmers Abandon Fields

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The U.S. spring wheat crop is taking a beating this summer from too much heat and too little rain, with condition scores at the lowest numbers recorded in 33 years, according to S&P Global Platts.

Approximately 98% of the 2021 spring wheat crop is in an area experiencing drought, according to a July 6 USDA report.

“The other recent ‘bad condition’ years for U.S. spring wheat were 2002, 2006, and 2017,” says Brad Rippey, USDA Meteorologist.  “Those years correlate pretty well with some of our worst U.S. spring wheat yields.”

Conditions have been particularly tough for farmers growing hard red spring (HRS) wheat in the Northern Plains. HRS ratings in the good to excellent categories dropped from 20% to 16% this week, compared to a five-year average of 66%.

“It’s the lowest (rating) in decades, raising abandonment, yield and quality concerns,” U.S. Wheat Associates reported in its weekly assessment on Friday.

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