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Weekly USDA wheat ratings improve across southern U.S. Plains states

CHICAGO, March 23 (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service in a weekly crop report on Monday rated 48% of the Kansas winter wheat crop in good to excellent condition, up from 46% a week earlier.

* Kansas is the biggest U.S. winter wheat producer. The USDA reported surplus moisture in 23% of Kansas topsoil, up from 18% a week ago.

* For Texas, the No. 2 winter wheat state by planted area, the USDA rated 49% of the crop as good to excellent, up from 36% the previous week.

* The Texas corn crop was 36% planted, ahead of the state's five-year average of 31%.

* For Oklahoma, the USDA rated 77% of the winter wheat crop in good to excellent condition, up from 67% a week earlier.

* The USDA said 27% of Oklahoma's winter wheat had reached the jointing stage of growth, compared with the five-year average of 35%.

* For Colorado, the USDA rated 55% of the winter wheat as good to excellent, up from 46% a week earlier.

* Farmers in the Plains state grow hard red winter wheat, the largest U.S. wheat class, which is milled into flour for bread.

* In Arkansas, where farmers grow soft red winter wheat used to make cookies and snack foods, the USDA rated 43% of the state's wheat as good to excellent, up from 39% a week earlier.

* The USDA on Jan. 10 said U.S. farmers planted 30.804 million acres of winter wheat for 2020 harvest, down 1% from a year earlier and the fewest since 1909.

(Reporting by Julie Ingwersen; Editing by Richard Chang)

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