Crop Progress - State Stories March 2019

IDAHO: Idaho was waiting to start planting due to high moisture and low temperatures. Ground in Boundary County was still frozen with snow cover. Snow was melting rapidly on the Southern, Southwestern, and Southeastern slopes in Latah and Nez Perce Counties, but soils remained too saturated to work. Spring calving was nearing completion in Southwestern Idaho. Topsoil in Cassia and Minidoka Counties were dry, but subsoil continued to be very wet. Rangeland needed more heat before it became usable. Tractors recently started to enter fields in Jerome and Twin Falls Counties. Winter pastures were in poor conditions while spring pastures began to green. Camas County had at least three feet of snow in fields, while Bear Lake and Teton Counties had at least two feet of snow. The ground was thawing and snow was melting in Oneida County. Snow was melting with the welcoming of rain in Power County. Teton County experienced some minor flooding.

MONTANA: Topsoil moisture for the month of March was 1% very short, 5% short, 75% adequate, and 19% surplus. Subsoil moisture for the month was 1% very short, 12% short, 80% adequate, and 7% surplus. For the month of March, winter wheat - wind damage was 56% none 11% light, 32% moderate, and 1% heavy. Winter wheat - freeze and drought damage 31% none, 19% light, 47% moderate, and 3% heavy for the month. Winter wheat - protectiveness of snow cover for the month was 8% very poor, 11% poor, 16% fair, 34% good, and 31% excellent. Livestock grazing accessibility for the month of March was - 33% open, 25% difficult, and 42% closed. Livestock receiving supplemental feed for the month was as follows - cattle and calves 95% fed, 98% last year. Livestock receiving supplemental feed - sheep and lambs 97% fed, 100% last year. Warmer temperatures and snow melt were widespread throughout Montana for the month of March, according to the Mountain Regional Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA. Topsoil moisture conditions were 94 percent adequate to surplus which is above last year’s 86 percent. Subsoil moisture conditions were 87 percent adequate to surplus which is above last year’s 68 percent. Reporters throughout the State welcomed warmer temperatures, but that was accompanied by large amounts of snow melt. Eastern and Central areas of the State experienced flooding, however, much of the soil remains frozen, contributing to massive run off and standing water in fields. Winter freeze and wind damage to winter wheat remains high with 69 percent of reporters observing freeze and drought damage, and 44 percent reporting wind damage. Winter wheat snow coverage for the state is rated 65 percent good to excellent, which aligns with the previous year. Winter wheat condition is rated 62 percent good to excellent, compared with 65 percent last year. Grazing accessibility was limited with 42 percent of grazing lands reported as inaccessible or closed, and 25 percent rated as difficult. Livestock producers are providing supplemental feed at a slightly lower rate than the previous year, with 95 percent of cattle being fed, compared to 98 percent at this time last year, and 97 percent of sheep being fed, compared to 100 percent at this time last year.

OREGON: Oregon exited the winter months with good snowpack and snow water equivalent well above average. Many watersheds in the Eastern part of the State were 130% (or greater) of normal. For the drought stricken areas of Klamath, Lake and Harney Counties, this was great news going forward in crop year 2019. Thanks to cool night-time temperatures, there were no reports of flooding Statewide. The snow cover stayed on the ground for much of March. In the North Central and North Eastern regions of the State, almost all spring planting was late. Producers rushed to get spring work completed. Although the water outlook was good for the spring crops, the lateness of planting spring grains was a concern for some producers. Winter canola crop looked excellent. Sherman County anticipated that it still might take a few weeks before producers could get equipment into some fields. Cattle producers were also impacted. Many livestock producers purchased extra hay. More calving loss was observed due to the winter storms that brought frigid temperatures and high winds. Much of the Northern coastal regions observed heavy snow in early March followed by a warm-up near the end of the month. The unexpected snow impacted some of the orchard crops. Broken limbs was the main issue. Most producers had finished pruning. Older orchards had the most damage. Since most grass seed and wheat fields had already received the first application of fertilizer, several producers were uncertain how much of the application would be utilized due to heavy moisture. Like much of the rest of the State, spring crops were late in planting. In South Central and Southeastern Oregon, it was still early to assess pasture and range condition, with much of the region still covered in snow. Planting progress was spotty for all crops. Some Lake County livestock producers reported higher than normal calving death losses due to winter weather. In the Southern part of Klamath County, pasture conditions looked good. Fields were prepped for planting. In the Northern part of the county, there was still a lot of snow on the ground.

WASHINGTON: Snowy days gave way to warmer conditions and melting snow in much of Washington. Fields in Western Washington started to dry out and field work started. Most fall planted crops around the Puget Sound survived the winter in good condition while spring crops had not yet been planted. Grass was green and growing. Vegetable growers were tilling fields and getting ready for spring planting. The warm weather was favorable for lambs and calves. Livestock were still on stored feed and soil temperatures were low on the Peninsula. Southwestern Washington was unseasonably warm and dry. Many ditches and wet spots dried out. There were three field fires in Lewis County and another three field fires in Grays Harbor County. Several apiaries in Cowlitz, Clark, and Skamania Counties reported colony collapse up to 70% of total hives. Fall planted triticale was in good condition. Raspberries in Whatcom County had some crop damage due to freezing temperatures in February, but the extent of damage was unknown until warmer temperatures occur. Greenhouse starts and tulips were the first crops for farmers market in Jefferson County. Most CSA operations started seed flats and hardy early spring vegetables were planted in high-tunnels. Skagit County was extraordinarily warm and dry. Propagation houses in Snohomish County were crammed with starts waiting for suitable field conditions to transplant. Most pastures in the county recovered from the heavy snow cover. Warmer temperatures in Benton and Franklin Counties led to quick snow melts. Early vegetable plantings were delayed one month. Cropland in Chelan and Douglas Counties was still under snow. Calving continued, however several losses were reported due to harsh weather conditions. Most of the winter wheat was under snow cover, but some green wheat was seen around field edges. The eastern side of Klickitat County was dry while Klickitat Valley had snow. Pastures were not ready, leading ranchers to forage for more hay. There were localized floods in Yakima County, but no crops were impacted. Pruning and tree training activities were underway. Temperatures in Stevens County fluctuated between 60 degree days and freezing nights after a cold March. Snow melted throughout northeastern Washington, while wheat and fall grain crops emerged through the remaining snow cover. There were reports of winter kill due to temperature variations and loss of snow cover on hilltops. Calving issues were also reported due to the two winter storms in February. Winter wheat in Adams County was in good condition with limited damage. The Palouse was wet, and snow still covered the ground.

WYOMING: This report is for the entire month of March 2019. Topsoil moisture 11% short, 69% adequate, 20 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture 19% short, 70% adequate, 11 percent surplus. Barley planted 2%, 2018 1%. Winter wheat condition 3% very poor, 16% poor, 25% fair, 52% good, 4% excellent. Hay and roughage supplies 15% very short, 22% short, 62% adequate, 1% surplus. Livestock condition 3 percent very poor, 4% poor, 27% fair, 64% good, 2% excellent. Stock water supplies 11% short, 69% adequate, 20% surplus. Pasture and range condition 1% very poor, 10% poor, 53% fair, 36% good. Cows calved 24% compared to 21% in 2018. Ewes lambed 18% compared to 17% in 2018. Sheep shorn 29% compared with 30% in 2018. Winter wheat condition is mostly good to fair and pasture and range is rated mostly fair to good. Temperatures were below normal for most of the State and moisture levels have improved from last year.

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