USDA: Wheat 2.5 weeks ahead of normal

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Thirty-eight percent of Nebraska's wheat had jointed by the end of last week. This was two-and-one-half weeks ahead of average, creating concern for potential freeze damage, according to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, Nebraska Field Office. For the week ending April 15, soil temperatures cooled and ranged from the low 50s in the west to mid 50s in the east.

In general, temperatures averaged one degree below normal across the northern half of the state, and 1 degree above normal across the south. Highs reached the upper 70s and lows fell to the mid 20s in the Panhandle. An inch or more of precipitation was common across the eastern two-thirds of the state with two inches or more reported in portions of eastern and central Nebraska. Amounts were generally less than 0.5 inch in the Panhandle with some snow reported.

  • Corn was 4% planted, ahead of 2% last year and 1% average.
  • Wheat jointed was 38%, well ahead of 5% last year and 6%. Wheat conditions rated 0% very poor, 5% poor, 32% fair, 54% good, and 9% excellent, well above last year’s 41% good to excellent and 56% average.
  • Oat planting was 77% complete, well ahead of 52% last year and one and one-half weeks ahead of the 48% average. Thirty-five percent had emerged, well ahead of 5% last year and 10% average.
  • Alfalfa conditions rated 0% very poor, 7% poor, 28% fair, 50% good, and 15% excellent, below last year’s 71% good to excellent but near 66% average. The first fields of alfalfa were cut.

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