U.S. winter wheat seen rated 55 percent good to excellent: Reuters poll

FILE PHOTO: A combine drives over stalks of soft red winter wheat during the harvest on a farm in Dixon, Illinois, July 16, 2013. REUTERS/Jim Young

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) first weekly crop progress report for 2019 should show that the U.S. winter wheat crop is in better shape than a year ago, according to a survey of 10 analysts on Monday.

Analysts polled by Reuters forecast on average that the USDA would rate 55 percent of the winter wheat crop as good to excellent. A year earlier, the USDA rated 32 percent of the crop in good to excellent condition.

Trade estimates for the week to March 31 ranged from 49 percent to 60 percent good to excellent. The government was scheduled to publish the report at 3 p.m. CDT (2000 GMT).

Crop ratings for states that grow hard red winter wheat, such as Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, should be better than ratings for states producing soft red winter wheat, several analysts said. Soft red winter wheat, used for cookies and crackers, is grown in the southern Midwest and the Mississippi River Delta.

The USDA on Friday projected total U.S. wheat plantings for 2019 at 45.8 million acres, the lowest since records began in 1919. The government put winter wheat seedings at 31.5 million tonnes, down 3 percent from a year earlier.

Reporting by Julie Ingwersen; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama