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Crops

New Life: Spring planting season begins across state

As we move into spring, farmers across the state are prepping their ground for new crops. 

Again this year, drought may prove to be problematic for producers, and the Wyoming National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) has been tracking soil moisture and crop progress to help farmers prepare for the year.

Moisture levels

For field crops, topsoil moisture supplies were markedly lower from a year ago, reported at 60 percent short to very short and only 40 percent adequate to surplus. Last year, topsoil moisture was at 52 percent adequate to surplus and only nine percent very short.

Irrigation followed suit, with 51 percent of supplies reported as short to very short and 49 percent adequate. 

Twenty-six of the weather reporting stations across the state reported below-normal precipitation levels for this year. Air temperature was also generally lower, but ranged from eight degrees below normal in Powell to four degrees above normal at Evanston and Buford. 

Planting status

Planting for barley also falls short of last year, according to the March 25-31 report from Wyoming NASS.

“Sixteen percent of the barley was reported as planted, behind 57 percent last year and 34 percent for the five-year average,” reads the report. “One percent was reported as emerged.”

Oats, however, showed an increase of three percent from last year, with 10 percent of the crop planted. 

Spring wheat was reported at two percent planted, a number that is even with the five-year average.

Winter wheat, similar to national trend, is in largely poor condition, with 42 percent of the crop at poor to very poor, only 28 percent listed as fair and 30 percent in good condition. 

Range conditions

As expected after a dry winter and last year’s drought conditions, this week, range and pasture conditions were set at 68 percent poor to very poor, 24 percent fair and only eight percent good.

“Spring grazing prospects were reported at 62 percent poor to very poor, 32 percent fair and six percent good,” adds the report. 

Beginning with the week of April 1, Wyoming NASS will produce a weekly crop progress report. 

For more information from Wyoming NASS, visit nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Wyoming/index.asp.