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Winter wheat crop gets off to good start in U.S.

The U.S. winter wheat crop is off to a good start.

“For the first time in three years there’s a little bit of optimism,” said Kansas Wheat chief executive officer Justin Gilpin.

Crop condition ratings show that 47 per cent of the U.S. crop was in good to excellent condition as of Nov. 12, compared to 32 per cent a year ago.

The crop is 93 per cent planted, which is in line with the five-year average.

In Kansas, eight per cent of the state was experiencing extreme or exceptional drought as of Nov. 12, compared to 56 per cent a year ago, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Planting was ahead of schedule in the largest winter wheat-producing state.

“Farmers have been able to get in the field, and the temperature (was) above normal,” he said.

Crop emergence has been better than it was the past couple of years due to decent soil reserves.

The wheat is tillering before dormancy.

“For the first time in three years we’ve been able to get the wheat crop up,” he said.

It’s a similar story throughout the entire southern Plains region. Crops are also off to a better start than the past couple of years in Oklahoma and Texas.

However, it has been dry since planting. There hasn’t been any rain in western Kansas for 40 days and in the central portion of the state for 20 to 30 days.

No area has received more than 2.5 millimetres of precipitation during that stretch.

Rain was in the forecast for the weekend starting Nov. 18, with meteorologists calling for six to 12 mm of moisture.

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