It's no surprise to folks in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and other drought-stricken areas: winter-wheat production is down significantly from beginning projections.

Lots of folks plowed wheat ground under, some took a stab at harvest if they had their own combines, and custom crews either stayed home or close to home.

Officially, World Ag Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) projects the total U.S. wheat crop to be down 59 million bu., based on lower winter-wheat yield. Wheat feed and residual use has been lowered by 25 million bu.; ending wheat stocks are lowered 32 million bu. to 416 million. The projected price range for 2006-2007 has been raised by a dime to $3.60 to $4.20/bu.

The word is still out on corn, although emergence is on par with last year and 4% ahead of the five-year average, according to the National Ag Statistics Service (NASS) for the week ending June 4. All told, 71% of the crop is reported to be in good or excellent condition, compared to 64% last year.

Unsurprisingly, the heat continues to depress pasture conditions compared to last year. NASS says 46% is rated at good or excellent compared to 57% last year. More telling, 25% is rated as poor or very poor compared to 13% last year.

It's worth noting, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC)that the last five five-year periods (2001-2005, 2000-2004, 1999-2003, 1998-2002, 1997-2001) were the warmest five-year periods in the last 111 years. The next warmest five-year period was in the 1930s (1930-34), when the western U.S. suffered from an extended drought coupled with anomalous warmth. The warmest U.S. year on record was 1998, where the record warmth was concentrated in the Northeast as compared with the Northwest in 1934.

For the week ending June 4, according to NASS:

Pasture -- States with the worst pasture conditions -- at least 30% of the acreage rated poor or worse -- include: Alabama (30%); Arizona (78%); Colorado (67%); Florida (45%); Kansas (30%); Nebraska (38%); New Mexico (79%); Oklahoma (37%); and Texas (51%).

On the wet side of the fence, states with the most lush pasture conditions -- at least 40% rated good or better -- include: Alabama (40%); Arkansas (56%); California (80%); Idaho (90%); Illinois (81%); Indiana (83%); Iowa (76%); Kentucky (70%); Maine (98%); Maryland (48%); Michigan (72%); Minnesota (74%); Mississippi (43%); Montana (58%); Nevada (88%); New York (83%); North Carolina (60%); North Dakota (49%); Ohio (71%); Oregon (74%); Pennsylvania (57%); South Dakota (45%); Tennessee (74%); Utah (79%); Washington (74%); West Virginia (47%); and Wisconsin (78%).

  • Corn -- 94% of the acreage has emerged, about even with last year but 5% ahead of the normal pace.

  • Soybeans -- 89% is planted, the same as last year and 8% ahead of the five-year average; 70% has emerged, which is 3% ahead of last year and 12% ahead of the average.

  • Winter Wheat -- 88% was at or beyond the heading stage. That's 2% ahead of last year and 4% ahead of the normal pace. Harvest has occurred on 9% of the acreage, 6% ahead of last year and 4% ahead of normal. That happens when you don't have as much crop worth harvesting. Spring Wheat -- 97% of the crop has emerged, compared to 95% last year and 89% for the five-year average.

  • Barley -- Emergence advanced to 93%, the same as last year and 5% ahead of normal.

  • Sorghum -- 66% of the acreage is sown, which is 5% ahead of last year and 1% ahead of average.

  • Oats -- Heading advanced to 28% of the acreage, the same as last year and the average.