Crop Progress - State Stories

IDAHO: The statewide temperatures in Idaho for the month of March varied a few degrees above and below normal. In northern Idaho, pastures started to green up in the lower elevation areas. Winter wheat looked good. Most fields were still too wet for significant fieldwork and soil temperatures still cold for extensive planting. In contrast, somewhat dry conditions were reported across southwest Idaho rangelands. Crop producers and livestock owners hoped for timely spring precipitation. South central Idaho received a little rain and snow moisture the last week in March. Cereal planting started to pick up. Some potatoes and beets were planted. Alfalfa fields also started to green up. Voles looked to be a problem. Winter cereals look good. Winter calving and lambing went well with mild winter weather since January. March conditions were mixed in eastern Idaho. It was still winter in Bear Lake and Teton Counties with snow on the ground. In Power County, it was just dry enough for spring work to start. Concerns over water storage eased slightly with the late March precipitation.

MONTANA: This report for Montana is for the entire month of March 2021. Topsoil moisture 30% very short, 46% short, 23% adequate, 1% surplus. Subsoil moisture 27% very short, 44% short, 29% adequate. Winter wheat - condition 6% very poor, 10% poor, 30% fair, 48% good, 6% excellent. Winter wheat – wind damage 53% none, 21% light, 18% moderate, 8% heavy. Winter wheat – freeze and drought damage 65% none, 17% light, 15% moderate, 3% heavy. Winter wheat – protectiveness of snow cover 76% very poor, 17% poor, 5% fair, 2% good. Pasture and range - condition 28% very poor, 32% poor, 31% fair, 7% good, 2% excellent. Livestock grazing accessibility – 71% open, 9% difficult, 20% closed. Livestock receiving supplemental feed – cattle and calves 86% fed. Livestock receiving supplemental feed – sheep and lambs 89% fed. The month of March produced warmer winter conditions and minimal moisture across the state of Montana, according to the Mountain Regional Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA. Reporters across the state noted very little moisture was received in March and high winds have continued to dry out soil. Temperatures were unseasonably warm throughout the month, as temperatures stayed higher than the historical highs and lows for several days. Low temperatures ranged from the high teens to low 50s, while high temperatures ranged from the high 30s to mid-60s. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, approximately 80 percent of Montana is abnormally dry or in a current state of drought, with about 17 percent of the state in severe to exceptional drought.

NEVADA: Topsoil moisture 5% short, 95% adequate. Subsoil moisture 10% very short, 90% adequate. Temperatures for the month averaged 40.7 degrees, 1.2 degrees below normal. Statewide average precipitation was 0.60 inch. Most alfalfa was still dormant, but some showed initial growth. Plant growth on rangelands started, but growth progressed slowly due to cool temperatures. In the northwest region, some areas had little or no growth from cheat grass, possibly due to a soil pathogen. The total affected area is unknown. Growth ranged from only a few young plants to almost 2 inches tall.

OREGON: Moisture conditions through the state ranged from very wet to very dry. Temperatures were below normal to around normal. Benton and Lincoln Counties reported a good amount of sunny days with some rain for March. It was still too cold for crops, except winter wheat in Benton County. Pasture was in fair condition for introduced grasses, such as New Zealand Orchard Grass planted on high elevations. Much of the coastal pastures were underwater or in tidal zones and grazed in the late spring and summer months. Columbia, Multnomah, and Washington Counties reported plenty of moisture. More frosts were predicted. Vegetable planting was on hold until soil warmth and moisture get closer to optimum planting conditions. Nursery plants came through winter in good condition, field crops looked generally good, and pastures started to push through where they were not overgrazed. In Douglas, Jackson, and Josephine Counties, pears, apples, peaches and cherries were pushing buds. Plum crops were currently in full bloom. Blueberries were about ten days away from bloom. Wine grapes were still mostly dormant with a few varieties showing early buds. Tillamook and Clatsop Counties reported wet conditions for March, with grass growth progressing. Occasionally, some dairy herds were out on pasture. Soils were wet and saturated in some areas. North central Oregon reported an extremely dry winter with extremely dry topsoil. Pastures greened up. Cattle were calving with ideal conditions. Crops looked good for now, but needed more rain. Baker County reported wind gusts. Crook, Deschutes, and Jefferson Counties reported heading toward the worst water year ever for irrigators with the potential for large amounts of acres left fallowed. The warm winter in Ochoco Mountains meant snowmelt may end up in soil and not much runoff this spring. High winds did not help with moisture retention. Wheeler County reported it was extremely dry. Pastures were fine and cattle were calving, but the area needed spring rains. Lake County precipitation was below average, and there was concern about livestock producers receiving adequate irrigation. Malheur County reported good conditions for onion planting, but progress slowed due to a couple of storms. Adequate irrigation was expected. Northeast Oregon’s recent precipitation and nearly complete infiltration of snow melt increased available soil water in fields. Winter canola was doing well. Southwest Oregon reported soil moisture levels good to surplus in nearly all areas. Field crops were in good shape.

UTAH: This report for Utah is for the entire month of March, 2021. Topsoil moisture 4% very short, 22% short, 72% adequate, 2% surplus. Subsoil moisture 13% very short, 25% short, 60% adequate, 2% surplus. Pasture and range condition 19% very poor, 37% poor, 42% fair, 2% good. Winter wheat condition 6% very poor, 15% poor, 42% fair, 31% good, 6% excellent. Barley planted 4%. Hay and roughage supplies 8% very short, 25% short, 67% adequate. Stock water supplies 14% very short, 23% short, 63% adequate. Cattle and calves condition 4% poor, 27% fair, 65% good, 4% excellent. Sheep and lambs condition 6% poor, 38% fair, 54% good, 2% excellent. Livestock receiving supplemental feed for cattle 72%. Livestock receiving supplemental feed for sheep 44%. Cows calved 27%. Ewes lambed-farm flock 16%. Ewes lambed-range flock 8%. Isolated areas throughout the state received precipitation in March, but not enough to alleviate drought conditions. Spring planting was underway in Box Elder county and farmers sprayed and fertilized fall grains. Calving continued and branding and vaccinations were underway. In Beaver county, livestock were doing well. Fields were prepared for planting and treated for pests, though field work was slowed due to storms. As of March 29, 2021, snowpack in Utah was 81 percent measured as percent of median snowfall.

WASHINGTON: The Statewide temperatures in Washington for the month of March were slightly above normal to below normal. In western Washington, the fields were too wet for fieldwork. Grass was putting on new growth. Winter crops were looking good, with the exception of where crops were drowned out from the winter ponded water. The temperatures were cool. Many operators with high tunnels planted crops and some of the spring vegetables were starting to show up. Some vegetable producers were able to do outdoor tilling. In Snohomish County, cane berries were mostly pruned and tied. In central Washington, apricot orchards were in full bloom. Peach orchards were showing pink buds and bloom had started for some varieties. Apple orchard trees were a half-inch green with some varieties showing buds at tight cluster. Buds on trees in pear orchards were at swollen bud stage and growers sprayed their blocks with oils and kaolin clay to discourage pear psylla. There was a fair amount of orchard tear-out still left to be disposed. Growers hilled asparagus blocks in anticipation of an early harvest. Vegetable fields had been tilled and were ready to plant. There was activity in the hop yards with workers tilling the groundcover, planting cover crops, rolling out irrigation lines, and stringing up the trellises. Winter wheat and alfalfa were presenting a vivid green color in an otherwise drab landscape. Vegetation along the irrigation canals was cleaned up and ready to receive water. Klickitat County and east central Washington had very dry conditions. Winter wheat was in mostly good condition, with a few areas that looked excellent and a few areas that looked poor. There was a significant amount of snow mold, but it was too early to know if the wheat will recover. In southeast Washington, snow showers were a weekly occurrence with some freezing temperatures. Spring work commenced. Columbia and Walla Walla Counties were dry and needed moisture.

WYOMING: This report for Wyoming is for the entire month of March 2021. Topsoil moisture 30% very short, 25% short, 42% adequate, 3% surplus. Subsoil moisture 35% very short, 26% short, 38% adequate, 1% surplus. Winter wheat condition 4% very poor, 14% poor, 70% fair, 11% good, 1% excellent. Barley planted 16%. Calving progress 30% cows calved. Sheep and lamb progress 18% ewes lambed, 26% sheep shorn. Hay and roughage supplies 23% very short, 22% short, 54% adequate, 1% surplus. Livestock condition 11% poor, 27% fair, 61% good, 1% excellent. Stock water supplies 18% very short, 23% short, 58% adequate, 1% surplus. Pasture and range condition 27% very poor, 35% poor, 28% fair, 9% good, 1% excellent. Cattle death loss 5% heavy, 89% average, 6% light. Sheep death loss 5% heavy, 91% average, 4% light. Despite a large snowstorm, the month of March brought little relief to Wyoming. Temperatures for the month were fairly mild for the majority of the State, remaining around average for this time of the year. Precipitation was scarce except for a winter storm in mid-March. Reports indicate the storm brought much needed moisture to the State, but a significant amount of spring precipitation is still desperately needed. Comments from Campbell County indicate some producers have already decided not to plant this spring because of the poor conditions. Comments from Albany, Sheridan and Platte counties indicated the March snowstorm was very hard on livestock, with numerous reports of significant livestock losses due to heavy snow and deep snow drifts. According to the United States Drought Monitor for March 25, 2021, 96.3 percent of the State is still experiencing drought conditions. Extreme drought conditions covered 19.3 percent of the State, compared to 24.8 percent last month. Severe drought was present across 27.4 percent of the State, a decrease of 11.4 percentage points from last month’s percentage of 38.8 percent. Moderate drought was present across 24.4 percent of the State, a slight decrease from 27.7 percent last month. The amount of land rated as abnormally dry was 25.2 percent, compared to 6.5 percent last month.

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