After consecutive years of drought across large portions of the nation’s winter wheat regions, this year’s crop is off to its best start in four years.

According to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Crop Progress report for the week ended April 7, an estimated 6% of winter wheat had already headed. This is 1% behind the last year but also 1% ahead of the five-year average. Most heading occurred in Texas and California, though some heading was noted in Illinois and Missouri.

Overall, crop condition was reported greatly improved from the same time in 2023. Across 18 states included in the NASS report, 56% of winter wheat was rated as good to excellent condition compared to only 27% for the same week last year. This is the best condition reported for the overall crop since 2020. In that year, 62% of winter wheat was rated as good to excellent in the second NASS report.

Read more about the outlook for winter wheat here.