The U.S. winter-wheat crop is in better shape than it was at this time last year, the government said, as warm temperatures and ample rainfall in March benefited plants in the southern and central Great Plains.
About 58 percent of the wheat was rated good or excellent as of yesterday, up from 37 percent a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report, the first this year to assess conditions in all growing states. An estimated 52 percent of the crop received the top ratings on Nov. 28, before plants went dormant for the winter.
Plants benefited from temperatures as much as 12 degrees Fahrenheit above normal last month from Texas to Montana, according to data from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Soil moisture in the southern Plains improved with some fields getting more than twice the normal amount of rain.
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