Tag Archives: wheat

U.S. corn and soybean conditions held mostly steady last week, but both crops are still significantly behind the average pace in reaching maturity, according to USDA NASS’ latest Crop Progress report released Monday.

NASS estimated that, as of Sunday, Sept. 15, the U.S. corn crop was 55% in good-to-excellent condition, unchanged from the previous week. That’s still the lowest good-to-excellent rating for the crop at this time of year since 2013.

Only 18% of corn was estimated mature as of Sunday, according to NASS. Last year at this same time, half of the crop (51%) had reached maturity. The current maturity is also 21 percentage points behind the five-year average of 39%. That’s further behind average than in last Monday’s report, when maturity was 13 percentage points behind the five-year average.

Corn in the dough stage was estimated at 93%, 5 percentage points behind the five-year average of 98%. Corn dented was 68%, 19 percentage points behind the five-year average of 87%.

“Fifty percent or less of corn is dented in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and South Dakota,” said DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman.

In its first corn harvest report of the season, NASS estimated that 4% of the crop had been harvested as of Sunday, led by activity in North Carolina and Texas. That compares to last year’s 8% harvested and the five-year average of 7%.

While corn condition was unchanged last week, the condition of the nation’s soybean crop fell slightly from 55% good to excellent the previous week to 54% as of Sunday. As with corn, that remains the lowest good-to-excellent rating since 2013, Hultman said.

Soybeans setting pods reached 95% as of Sunday, behind both last year’s and the average pace of 100%. Soybeans dropping leaves was estimated at 15%, far behind last year when half of the crop had leaves dropping and 23 percentage points behind the five-year average of 38%.

Spring wheat harvest slowed last week, moving ahead only 5 percentage points from the previous week to reach 76% as of Sunday. That is 17 percentage points behind the five-year average of 93%. Montana remains the slowest to harvest, at 69% complete, Hultman noted.

Planting of next year’s winter wheat crop was estimated at 8% complete as of Sunday, according to NASS, slightly behind the average pace of 12%.

“The top three states getting early starts to planting winter wheat were Washington, Colorado and Nebraska,” Hultman said.

Sorghum coloring was estimated at 79%, behind the average of 84%. Sorghum mature was estimated at 34%, behind the average of 44%. Sorghum harvested was estimated at 24%, behind the five-year average of 27%. Barley harvested reached 87%, behind the average of 96%. Oats were 92% harvested, also behind the average of 97%.

Cotton bolls opening was estimated at 54%, ahead of the average of 47%. Cotton harvested was estimated at 9%, near the five-year average of 8%. Cotton condition — for the portion of the crop still in fields — was rated 41% good to excellent, down 2 percentage points from the previous week’s 43% good-to-excellent rating. Rice harvested was 46%, slightly behind the average of 48%.

To view weekly crop progress reports issued by National Ag Statistics Service offices in individual states, visit http://www.nass.usda.gov/…. Look for the U.S. map in the “Find Data and Reports by” section and choose the state you wish to view in the drop-down menu. Then look for that state’s “Crop Progress & Condition” report.

Clay Patton breaks down the report here: https://c1.futuripost.com/krvnam/playlist/futures-one-crop-progress-report-not-a-big-change-7645.html

National Crop Progress Summary
This Last Last 5-Year
Week Week Year Avg.
Corn Dough 93 89 99 98
Corn Dented 68 55 92 87
Corn Mature 18 11 51 39
Corn Harvested 4 NA 8 7
Soybeans Setting Pods 95 92 100 100
Soybeans Dropping Leaves 15 NA 50 38
Spring Wheat Harvested 76 71 96 93
Winter Wheat Planted 8 NA 12 12
Cotton Bolls Opening 54 43 48 47
Cotton Harvested 9 7 13 8
Sorghum Coloring 79 65 87 84
Sorghum Mature 34 27 40 44
Sorghum Harvested 24 22 26 27
Barley Harvested 87 82 95 96
Oats Harvested 92 89 96 97
Rice Harvested 46 30 48 48


National Crop Condition Summary
(VP = Very Poor; P = Poor; F = Fair; G = Good; E = Excellent)
This Week Last Week Last Year
Corn 4 10 31 44 11 4 10 31 45 10 4 8 20 47 21
Soybeans 4 10 32 45 9 3 9 33 45 10 3 7 23 49 18
Cotton 3 14 42 34 7 3 15 39 37 6 8 24 29 30 9
Sorghum 1 6 28 51 14 1 5 26 53 15 5 12 30 44 9
Rice 1 5 25 47 22 1 5 25 46 23 4 22 58 16


National Soil Moisture Condition – 48 States
(VS = Very Short; SH = Short; AD = Adequate; SR = Surplus)
This Week Last Week Last Year
Topsoil Moisture 11 22 55 12 10 23 61 6 9 19 63 9
Subsoil Moisture 9 22 59 10 8 22 64 6 11 20 61 8

Kansas State University researchers studying a fungal disease capable of taking out an entire wheat crop are finding new evidence that the pathogen is even more feisty than they originally thought.

Barbara Valent, a university distinguished professor of plant pathology, said that the wheat blast fungus appears to be capable of storing genes for disease-causing proteins (called effectors) in “mini-chromosomes,” which are smaller chromosomes present in some strains.

In effect, the fungus is storing effectors for later use in attacking the plant.

“Effectors are small proteins,” Valent said. “They are basically the tools that the fungus uses to cut off the plant’s defenses and cause disease. There are hundreds of these that the fungus produces. But in some cases, plants recognize individual effectors and trigger resistance to block infection. The fungus then overcomes this resistance by getting rid of the offending effector gene.”

Sanzhen Liu, an associate professor of plant pathology, led the study, which also included assistant professor David Cook. Liu said the discovery that the fungus can re-arrange its genetic components between the seven main chromosomes and extra mini-chromosomes points to its ability to rapidly adapt to defeat resistance.

“Before we started this project, we knew that some effector genes could move around, but typically they would move to the ends of the (main) chromosomes,” Liu said. “It’s a surprise that they are carrying those fragments to mini-chromosomes. We’ve found that the mini-chromosome can serve as a reservoir for effector genes, and that the fungus employs some strategy through the mini-chromosome to gain the advantage.”

The finding creates new challenges for scientists to stay ahead of new and emerging strains of wheat blast fungus, which was first found in Brazil in 1985 and has since spread to other parts of South America and South Asia.

“We’ve known for a long time that the fungus was able to throw away genes that were causing it a problem, but after a while, wouldn’t you think that the fungus would just kill itself if it keeps throwing away this gene and that gene?” Valent said. “It doesn’t. In fact, it gets those genes back, and when they come back, they come to new places in the chromosome.”

Finding effective solutions, she added, is not yet clear.

“There is no simple solution to wheat blast disease,” said Valent, who has studied this disease for the last decade and the related rice blast disease for more than 40 years.

“We need to understand better the mechanism by which the fungus re-arranges these effector genes, so that we can learn more about how we can intervene. Maybe we can find genes that aren’t so easily deleted. How to move our studies to real control is difficult. At this point, I don’t know.”

The researchers noted that they have found “a few effector” genes that don’t seem to be part of the fungus’ devious work: “So those may be more stable targets for resistance,” Valent said.

Wheat blast thrives in warm, wet environments, such as those found in South America, where growers have struggled with the disease for more than two decades. In 2016, it was found across the ocean in Bangladesh, surprising farmers and researchers and causing additional concern about its ability to spread rapidly throughout the world.

“The first time the disease showed up in Bangladesh, it affected 15 percent of the country’s total wheat area, and farmers were burning fields to try to get rid of it,” Valent said. “That didn’t work and many farmers just stopped growing wheat there.”

Valent has published a website with information about research on the disease, which is conducted in the heavily-secured Biosecurity Research Institute on the north end of the Kansas State University campus in Manhattan.

“Our group discovered the only effective resistance gene that is protecting wheat in the field right now,” Valent said. “The strains from the early days weren’t very aggressive on wheat, but strains causing disease now are extremely aggressive. So, the fungus has been getting worse and worse, and there is potential in the future for it to get even more so.”

“We are screening in the BRI for more resistance, but the problem with this disease is we are not finding many useful resistance genes. We have a handful that we are following up on, but they are not frequent. It’s hard to control.”

Additional information for growers can be found in the extension publication “Identifying Wheat Diseases Affecting Heads and Grain,” which has been distributed in nearly every state and Canada.

K-State’s work on wheat blast is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture. The technology used to build a high-quality genome map was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Hidden in the stubble of 2019’s wheat harvest, wheat curl mites are moving to find sprouting volunteer wheat seedlings to inhabit and continue the life cycle of wheat streak mosaic virus. The wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV) instigated by these mites seriously affects the total yield of a wheat crop.


On average, WSMV causes $75 million in losses to Kansas wheat farmers every year. Wheat Streak Mosaic can cause a yield loss of more than 80 percent. WSMV isn’t treatable, but it is preventable. If we take preventative measures now, future yields will improve exponentially.


The virus is spread by the wheat curl mite, which feeds on wheat and other grasses. Wheat curl mites and the virus must have green host tissue to survive on throughout the summer after harvest. They most commonly reside on volunteer wheat that blew out the back of the combine or shattered grain from hail storms that happened before harvest. The mites on the fallen kernels move to the sprouting volunteer seedlings as new plants emerge in the summer.


Volunteer wheat is considered a “green bridge” because it allows the wheat curl mites and the virus to survive the summer.


Losses due to WSMV depend on variety, weather, percentage of infected plants and the time of infection. The first visible symptoms usually pop up in April on the edges of fields near volunteer wheat. Yellow streaking and mosaic patterns on young leaves and stunted tillers are some of the first signs. Symptoms worsen as the weather warms. Leaves on the infected plants turn yellow from the tip down, but usually the leaf veins remain green the longest. This gives the appearance of a striped yellow and green leaf, if the leaf is able to unfurl completely at all.


The best way to prevent the spread of the wheat streak mosaic virus is to remove volunteer wheat and other grassy weeds. Volunteer wheat must be completely dead and dry for two weeks before planting a new wheat crop. Volunteer wheat and other grassy weeds can be killed with herbicides or tillage.


A second management practice to limit the spread of the virus is to avoid early planting. Plant wheat after the “hessian fly free date” for your area. In some areas in western Kansas where there is no Hessian fly-free date, farmers should choose to wait until late September or October to plant their wheat. Planting after these dates will reduce the risk for the new wheat crop and reduce wheat curl mites from moving to new locations of wheat.


In addition, there are a few wheat varieties with moderate resistance to this devastating disease. Hard white wheats Joe and Clara CL, as well as hard red winter wheat Oakley CL have performed well in areas with wheat streak mosaic.
This resistance is not perfect and these plants may still be susceptible to triticum mosaic or high plains mosaic viruses. The resistance to wheat streak mosaic is less effective at temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, planting these varieties early for grazing can place fields at risk for disease-related yield losses.
Undoubtedly, the best method to control WSMV is controlling the volunteer wheat.


Be a good steward, and a good neighbor, when making these management decisions, and you might just be rewarded with a boost in bushels on your next wheat crop.


For more information on controlling volunteer, head to K-State Agronomy’s E-Update resource.

President Donald Trump’s recent comments on wheat exports to Japan have generated some negative press among one of his biggest groups of supporters.

The Hagstrom Report says when the president was speaking in Pennsylvania, one of the topics was the U.S. trade deficit with Japan. Trump said, “They send thousands, even millions of cars to us. We send them wheat. That’s not a good deal. And they don’t even want our wheat. They do it because they want us to at least feel that we’re okay.”

The National Association of Wheat Growers responded quickly via Twitter. “Mr. President, Japan is the number one market for U.S. wheat exports on average, where we hold just over 50 percent of the market. They don’t buy our wheat because ‘they want us to feel okay.’ They buy it because it’s the highest-quality wheat in the world. That’s not fake news.”

The negative reaction to Trump’s statement followed farmers venting about the administration’s policies when Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue appeared at Farmfest in Minnesota.

*Editor note*   Ag Secretary Perdue will be at  the Nebraska State Fair on Friday, August 23 for a town hall event at 11:30 in the Raising  Nebraska Building.