Rain, cold dampen spring progress

Andrew D. Brosig/The Business Farmer A tractor moves through the field pulling a disc, opening the ground in preparation for planting, Friday, May 3, near Sunflower Oil Road northeast of Mitchell, Neb.

GOSHEN COUNTY, Wyo. – Spring field work continued for most of the week ending May 5, before cooler, damper weather returned across portions of the Wyo-Braska region and northeastern Colorado.

Showers and a chance of additional snow were forecast for Wednesday night into Thursday, with low temperatures predicted to hover around the freezing mark and daytime highs in the mid to upper 40s, according to the National Weather Service forecast office in Cheyenne, Wyo. Warmer daytime temperatures in the 60s under partly-sunny skies are expected today (Friday), with the mercury dipping back into the mid- to upper-30s overnight.

The weekend forecast looks better, with temperatures Saturday staying in the mid-60s under mostly-sunny skies and near 40 Saturday night. Sunday should be sunny with a high near 71 helping to dry out damp fields during the day, continuing into Monday with a high near 75 forecast.


There were almost 4.5 days suitable for fieldwork last week across Nebraska, according to the USDA Agriculture Statistics Service office in Lincoln. Topsoil moisture supplies continued strong, with 96 percent rated in the adequate to surplus range.

Likewise subsoil moisture supplies, rated 98 percent adequate to surplus. Pasture and range conditions across the state averaged 16 percent fair, 73 percent good and 7 percent excellent for the period.

Producers were able to take advantage of the dryer weather during much of the period to get 35 percent of the state’s corn crop in the ground. That’s near the 38 percent planted for the same period last year, but behind the 47 percent five-year average. Emergence was reported on 2 percent of the acres planted, equaling last year for the same period, but behind the 9 percent, five-year aveage.

Producers reported this year’s winter wheat crop was 25 percent fair, 64 percent good and 7 percent excellent. Just 1 percent of the state’s wheat crop had headed, near the 2 percent, five-year average.


Rain and snow showers accompanied by below normal temperatures were the norm across much of Wyoming during the week ending May 5, which saw just 3.8 days average suitable for field work, according to the NASS Wyoming Field Office in Cheyenne. On the positive side, moisture levels have remained in the adequate to surplus levels over the previous week, better than the same period last year.

The cool weather has slowed pasture development, particularly in north central portions of the state, leaving grazing animals short on feeding options.

Western Wyoming producers reported field work starting, but slowly due to colder mornings. The southwestern portions of the state reported pastures and fields greening up due to warmer weather, while accompanying storms have made for rough conditions for livestock.

A good, wet snow which fell in portions of southeastern Wyoming helped replenish the soil moisture, but slowed or halted field work. Most of the state, with the exception of the north central and southwestern regions, reported good moisture, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor released April 30.

Irrigation supplies across the Equality State rated 5 percent fair, 92 percent good and 3 percent excellent. Stock water supplies were 6 percent short, 86 percent adequate and 8 percent surplus.

Producers reported 11 percent of the state’s corn crop planted, well ahead of the 2 percent last week, but well behind the 33 percent last year at this time. Just 1 percent of the dry edible beans were planted, but 65 percent of the state’s sugarbeets were in the ground with 19 percent emergence reported on average across the state.

Alfalfa for hay was reportedly 97 percent good to excellent, while barley rated 93 percent fair to good. Other hay crops were reportedly 92 percent good to excellent, with pasture and range averaging 40 percent fair and 51 percent good to excellent.

Livestock death loss was rated 90 percent average to light, with overall livestock conditions 17 percent fair, 73 percent good and 1 percent excellent.


Producers made substantial gains in fieldwork, despite precipitation and cooler temperatures early in the week ending May 5, according to the NASS field office in Lakewood, Colo. There were more than 6 days average suitable for fieldwork, despite the weather, which kept farm equipment idle, primarily in the northeast and east-central counties.

Reporters indicated most of the state’s crops looked to be in good condition, but moisture was still lacking for non-irrigated crops and rangeland. Southern-most areas of the state remained abnormally dry to bordering on light drought conditions, according to the April 30 U.S. Drought Monitor report.

In the San Luis Valley, cattle producers experienced more cows than normal losing calves, but the reason was not identified. Lambing was reportedly progressing well. Overall, 90 percent of the state’s cows had calved and 96 percent of ewes had lambed by the end of the period

Spring barley planting started to slow down and potato producers made significant progress planting last week. Hay supplies were noted as a little tight. 

Southeastern counties received rain last week, slowing progress of corn planting. A reporter mentioned limited hay was being cut and producers were taking action against weed pressure in the crop. 

Statewide, winter wheat condition was rated 73 percent good to excellent, compared to 53 percent rated for the period last year. 

Colorado snowpack was 132 percent, measured as percent of median snowfall, as of May 6. The Southwest and San Luis Valley were 176 and 139 percent, respectively. 

Stored feed supplies were rated 7 percent very short, 16 percent short, 74 percent adequate, and 3 percent surplus. Sheep death loss was 95 percent average and 5 percent light. Cattle death loss was 7 percent heavy, 81 percent average, and
12 percent light.


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