Weather cooperates with fall activities across most of region

Andrew D. Brosig/Torrington Telegram Heat waves rise from the ground as a semi keeps pace with a harvester loading it up with freshly-dug sugar beets Sept. 14 on a farm east of Torrington. Early harvest is well underway around the Wyo-Braska region as the atumnal equinox approaches shortly after 2 p.m. Friday and with it the official beginning of fall.

Rain during the week ending Oct. 28 put the damper on work in some parts of the Tri-State region of Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming, but a quick return to warmer, dryer and breezy conditions helped out as producers were able to get back in the fields and back to fall harvest activities, according to weekly Crop and Weather Reports from the National Agriculture Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Storm slows work briefly in part of Colorado

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – Midweek rain slowed fieldwork in areas, but harvest activities picked up later in the week as warmer and drier weather prevailed, according to the Mountain Regional Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA.

Warmer temperatures at week’s end aided winter wheat emergence. In northeastern counties, a reporter noted some corn and sorghum was damaged more by prior hail storms than producers originally expected prior to harvest. 

Livestock and range were noted to be in good condition where moisture has been sufficient. In drier areas, range condition and winter feed availability remained a concern. East central counties also received rain this week which delayed harvest of corn and sorghum, but the moisture was beneficial for seeded winter wheat. In the San Luis Valley, field operations generally decreased since crop harvests were complete. 

A reporter noted calves were being weaned with some weights reportedly ranging from average to lighter than normal. Short hay supplies remained a concern.

A reporter for southeastern counties noted rain delayed harvest last week and fields were very soft. Some corn was not drying down well after the frost and sales volume of calves was high at local sales barns last week. 

Producers were able to access fields 5.4 days last week, compared to 6.5 days both this time last year and on average over the past five years.

Statewide, corn was rated 66 percent good to excellent, compared with 79 percent rated good to excellent last year. Sugarbeets rated 16 percent fair, 40 percent good and 39 percent excellent with the harvest 68 percent complete, compared to 39 percent the previous week and ahead of both the previous year’s 58 percent and the five-year-average 62 percent.

Winter wheat condition was reported at 31 percent fair, 54 percent good and 10 percent excellent. The state’s sorghum crop, at 96 percent mature and 35 percent harvested, rated 27 percent fair, 48 percent good and 8 percent excellent.

Topsoil moisture ranked 30 percent short to very short, 66 percent adequate and only 4 percent surplus across the state. Likewise, subsoil moisture was reported at 42 percent very short to short, 55 percent adequate and only 3 percent surplus statewide.

Stored feed supplies were rated 10 percent very short, 22 percent short, 66 percent adequate, and 2 percent surplus. Pasture and range were reported 28 percent poor, 16 percent good and just 26 percent good to excellent.

Sheep death loss was 64 percent average and 36 percent light. Cattle death loss was 2 percent heavy, 69 percent average, and 29 percent light.

Nebraska crops rated generally good
to excellent

LINCOLN, Neb. – For the week ending October 28, 2018, there were 5.3 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service weekly Crop Progress and Condition Report. 

Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 3 short, 84 adequate, and 11 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 6 short, 84 adequate, and 8 surplus.

Corn condition rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 14 fair, 46 good, and 33 excellent. Corn harvested was 47 percent, ahead of 42 last year, but behind 55 for the five- year average.

Soybeans harvested was 74 percent, behind 86 last year and 90 average.

Winter wheat condition rated 2 percent very poor, 6 poor, 21 fair, 50 good, and 21 excellent. Winter wheat planted was 96 percent, near 97 last year and 99 average. Emerged was 89 percent, near 86 last year and 93 average.

Sorghum condition rated 1 percent very poor, 1 poor, 12 fair, 56 good, and 30 excellent. Sorghum harvested was 59 percent, ahead of 45 last year, but near 61 average.

Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 18 fair, 61 good, and 17 excellent.

Based on Oct. 1 conditions, Nebraska’s 2018 corn production is forecast at 1.80 billion bushels, up 7 percent from last year, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Area to be harvested for grain, at 9.25 million acres, is down 1 percent from a year ago. Yield is forecast at 195 bushels per acre, up 14 bushels from last year. Both yield and production are new record highs if realized.

Sorghum for grain is forecast at 15.8 million bushels, up 32 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 155,000 acres, is up 15 percent from 2017. Yield is a record forecast at 102 bushels per acre, up 13 bushels from last year.

Dry edible bean production is forecast at 3.25 million hundredweight, down 17 percent from 2017. Area for harvest, at 128,000 acres, is down 17 percent from last year. Yield is a record forecast at 2,540 pounds per acre, a 20-pounds-per-acre increase from last year.

Sugarbeet production is forecast at 1.48 million tons, up 3 percent from 2017. Area for harvest, at 44,200 acres, is down 2 percent from last year. Yield is a record forecast at 33.4 tons per acre, up 1.6 tons per acre from a year ago.

All sunflower production is forecast at 51.2 million pounds, down 26 percent from last year. Acreage for harvest, at 33,000 acres, is down 10,500 acres from 2017. Harvested acreage is a new record low. Yield is forecast at 1,550 pounds per acre, down 38 pounds per acre from a year ago. Of the acres for harvest, non-oil sunflowers account for 10,000 acres and oil sunflowers account for 23,000 acres.

Alfalfa hay production, at 3.61 million tons, is up 10 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 880,000 acres, is up 6 percent from a year ago. Yield of 4.10 tons per acre is up 0.15 ton from 2017. All other hay production, at 3.70 million tons, is up 28 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 1.85 million acres, is up 3 percent from a year ago. Yield of 2.00 tons per acre is up 0.40 ton from 2017. Both yield and production are new record highs if realized.

Above-normal temps help
Wyoming producers

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Wyoming experienced above normal temperatures for the week, according to the Mountain Regional Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA. 

All 34 of the reporting stations reported above average temperatures for the week. The high temperature of 83 degrees was recorded at Casper and a low of 19 degrees was recorded at Jackson Hole. Less than normal moisture was reported at 32 of the 34 reporting stations. Eighteen stations reported no moisture. Windy Peaks reported the most moisture with 0.47 inches. 

There were 6.7 days suitable for field work average across the state. Topsoil moisture was reported 9 percent very short, 32 percent short and 59 percent adequate. Subsoil moisture was rated at 11 percent very short, 34 percent short and 55 percent adequate. There was no indication of surplus moisture either in the topsoil or subsoil anywhere in the state, according to the report.

A reporter from North Central Wyoming said producers are moving cattle off mountain pastures

and finding the hail storm in July wiped out their fall pastures. Another reporter from North Central Wyoming said producers are wrapping up their farming activities and the shipping of livestock is almost complete. A reporter from Western Wyoming reported it had warmed up but another storm was expected. A South-Central Wyoming producer reported weather has been mild, with dry, breezy conditions aiding harvest activities. Producers in the region are finishing up fall cow work and waiting for winter. 

The corn crop ranked 13 percent fair and 84 percent good to excellent, in line with the five-year average. Pasture and range conditions ranked 33 percent fair to 50 percent good to excellent. That compares to 40 percent fair and 34 percent good to excellent at this time last year.

The state’s winter wheat crop was rated at 98 percent good to excellent, with just 2 percent falling into the poor to fair range. That compares to 55 percent good to excellent one year ago, with the remaining 45 percent of last year’s crop ranked fair to poor.

Warm, windy and dry conditions were reported in southeastern Wyoming, with sugarbeet harvest nearing completion at 93 percent compared to 84 percent last year and 70 percent averaged over the past five years. Corn harvest was underway, with 34 percent of the corn harvested for grain out of the fields, compared to 29 percent last week and ahead of the five-year-average 30 percent. 

Irrigation water supply across Wyoming was rated 2 percent poor, 9 percent fair, and 89 percent good. Stock water supplies across the state were rated 3 percent very short, 19 percent short, and 78 percent
adequate.


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