Weather cooperates with harvest activities


LINCOLN, Neb. – Weather conditions returned to dry and mostly clear days, allowing producers in the Tri-State Region to get back into the fields as harvest continued across much of Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming during the week ending Oct. 21.

Corn crop conditions in the 18 predominant corn producing states was rated as good to excellent on the period, according to weekly reports from the USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service. Producers in those states, which planted 92 percent of the corn acreage in the country in 2017, reported corn harvest at 49 percent overall, compared to 37 percent at this time last year and 47 percent on the five-year average.

Nebraska producers reported harvest 34 percent complete on the week, compared to 25 percent one year ago and 37 percent on the five-year average. The crop was reported at 50 percent good and 30 percent excellent.

In Nebraska, topsoil moisture supplies rated 5 percent short, 83 adequate, and 12 surplus for the period. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 9 short, 82 adequate, and 8 surplus.

Winter wheat condition rated 2 percent very poor, 6 poor, 25 fair, 50 good, and 17 excellent. Winter wheat planted was 92 percent, near 93 last year, and behind 97 average. Emerged was 83 percent, ahead of 75 last year, but near 84 average.

Sorghum condition rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 16 fair, 58 good, and 23 excellent. Sorghum harvested was 43 percent, ahead of 32 last year, and near 42 average.

Pasture and range conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 4 poor, 18 fair, 61 good, and 15 excellent.

Wyo. producers back in fields on colder, dry days

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

Twenty-three stations reported below average temperatures for the week. The high temperature of 75 degrees was recorded at Old Fort Laramie and Torrington. A low of 10 degrees was recorded at seven stations. Below-normal moisture was also reported at 33 of the 34 reporting stations. Thirty-one stations reported no moisture. Windy Peaks reported the most moisture with 0.60 inches. A reporter from Northwestern Wyoming said fall has been mild and, in many places, there has been little to no moisture. 

Across the state, dryer conditions meant there were 6.4 days suitable for field work, compared to 4.7 days the previous week. Corn harvest proceeded apace, with producers reporting 97 percent of the 2018 crop had reached maturity. Reports also indicated harvest was 29 percent complete statewide, in line with the 30 percent harvest at this time last year and well ahead of the five-year average 19 percent.

Producers also reported all the winter wheat had emerged state-wide, compared to 95 percent at this time last year and 89 percent on the five-year average. Sugarbeet harvest reached 74 percent complete during the week, again in line with the 72 percent completion at this time last year and ahead of the five-year average 56 percent.

Another reporter said livestock producers are finding fall Bureau of Land Management grazing areas not active, due to the effects of a July hail storm, and extra feed and pasture is being sought for those affected. A reporter from North Central Wyoming reported a week of beautiful weather to get cleanup done and prepare calves for shipping. 

Livestock conditions across the state for the period rated just 1 percent poor, 12 percent fair and 87 percent good to excellent. That’s comparable to last year, when 88 percent of the livestock was reported in good to excellent condition. A five-year average for livestock was not available.

A reporter from Southeastern Wyoming reported the growing season had come to an end with the dry conditions and a hard freeze of 16 degrees. Another reporter from Southeastern Wyoming said weather has been very mild with cool mornings and warm afternoons. 

The irrigation water supply across the state was rated 1 percent very poor, 9 percent fair, and 90 percent good. Stock water supplies across Wyoming were rated 8 percent very short, 22 percent short, and 70 percent adequate.

Hard freeze caps Colorado growing season

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – A series of hard freezes across the state marked closed to the 2018 growing season for much of Colorado on the week ending Oct. 21, according to the USDA Ag Statistics Service weekly report, as producers continued regular harvest activities and fall planting where conditions allowed.

Producers reported 5.3 days suitable for field work on the period, compared to just 3.8 days the previous week but behind the 6.7 suitable days in 2017 and the five-year average of 6.4. Winter wheat planting was nearly complete by week’s end and hard freezes aided crop dry down.

Northeastern county reporters noted prior moisture and cool temps delayed fieldwork in areas and slowed winter wheat emergence, but warm temperatures later in the week allowed harvest to continue. A reporter in Morgan county noted sugarbeet harvest was in full swing last week. 

East-central counties received scatters moisture during the week and at least one reported noted existing moisture conditions continued to hamper harvest activities in the region.

In southwestern counties, producers noted recent rains improved conditions overall, but moisture has been unevenly distributed and exceptional drought conditions persist in parts of the region. In the San Luis Valley, potato harvest was virtually complete. A reporter noted hay supplies were still noticeably short. 

In southeastern counties, more rain was received last week that delayed harvest. One producer reported two hard freezes, which ended growth for corn and sorghum, but was harsh enough to set alfalfa back. 

Statewide, corn was rated 68 percent good to excellent, compared with 78 percent rated good to excellent last year. Stored feed supplies were rated 8 percent very short, 19 percent short, 68 percent adequate, and 5 percent surplus. 

Sheep death loss was 72 percent average and 28 percent light. Cattle death loss was 2 percent heavy, 76 percent average, and 22 percent light. Overall, livestock conditions were rated 77 percent good to excellent on the period, on pace with 79 percent good to excellent the previous week but behind last year’s 85 percent and the five-year average of 82 percent.


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