Dry Conditions a Risk for Newly Planted US Winter Wheat

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The US hard red winter wheat (HRW) crop is about half planted, and dry conditions in the US Plains brought on by a La Nina climate event already are threatening to hurt yields. 

HRW is the most exported of the wheat varieties grown in the US. With wheat production shortfalls expected in Argentina, Brazil, and the Black Sea region, the global marketplace can ill afford a less than perfect US crop, despite anticipation of higher output in Australia. 

The US HRW crop enters its dormant stage in late November/December, and without adequate soil moisture, yields are at risk. Current weather forecasts indicate scant rainfall in the top producing counties in Kansas, the main state for US HRW production.

While dry, Gro’s Drought Index does not yet suggest conditions comparable to those of 2010-2012, the last strong La Nina event. Hard red winter wheat accounts for nearly 40% of total US wheat production and is grown primarily in the Great Plains states of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Oregon, and Wyoming.  

Click here to view Gro's Drought Index - US Plains

Over 60% of US HRW production is exported versus 50% of hard red spring (HRS) and 30% of soft red winter (SRW). Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas make up approximately 70% of US HRW wheat production. The yields from these three states are key determinants of US production.

While the impact on final wheat crop yields will depend on the intensity and duration of the La Nina, Gro’s US Hard Red Wheat Yield Model, like all of our machine-learning based yield models, updates daily with yield forecasts at the district level and offers in-season, near-real-time yield analysis. 

Click here to view Gro's US Hard Red Wheat Yield Model

This insight was powered by the Gro platform, which enables better and faster decisions about factors affecting the entire global agricultural ecosystem. Gro organizes over 40,000 datasets from sources around the world into a unified ontology, which allows users to derive valuable insights such as this one. You can explore the data available on Gro with a free account, or please get in touch if you would like to learn more about a specific crop, region, or business issue.

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