Recent storms ease water worries in parts of Wyoming

2013-06-04T15:48:00Z Recent storms ease water worries in parts of WyomingBy Terri Adams, The Prairie Star The Prairie Star
June 04, 2013 3:48 pm  • 

Several locations in Wyoming broke the 90 degree temperature mark but Greybull had the state for the middle of May with 93 degree. Lake Yellowstone had the low at 29 degrees.

During the middle of May three reporting stations recorded more than an inch of needed precipitation. Afton received 1.47 inches, Sundance received 1.12 inches, and Cody received 1.05 inches. Nine stations also received higher than normal precipitation during the week. Currently, statewide, six stations are reporting year-to-date above average precipitation. They are Cody, Jeffery City, Lake Yellowstone, Lander, Powell and Chugwater. Lander is the only place in the state a full inch ahead of the average. All other reporting stations in Wyoming are reporting below normal precipitation.

Even with the drought continuing in much of the state, the NRCS snow water equivalent for the year is now at 59 percent, which is much better than last year’s 31 percent.

Rain across the state has boosted the top soil moisture levels from 67 percent adequate or surplus at the state of May to 74 percent currently. Eighteen percent is now listed as short and 8 percent as very short, compared to the start of the month when 24 percent of the top soil was short and 9 percent very short. Again, the current numbers show an improvement over last year which showed no surplus moisture at this time, with 40 percent of the top soil holding adequate moisture, 45 percent short and the remaining 15 percent at very short.

“We have a lot of precipitation but it hasn’t made any significant changes in the drought conditions,” said Lars Baker of Fremont County Weed and Pest , located in Lander. He knows those dry conditions could produce a lot of grasshoppers this season, which would further stress plants and crops.

“We have don’t have grasshoppers out yet,” Baker said.

Interestingly, the emergence of grasshoppers usually coincides with the blooming of lilac trees in the area. That’s how producers can remember it.

“When the lilacs start to bloom, that’s the key,” he said.

In his area, around Lander, the lilacs are just starting to bloom.

“In the next week or so the early grasshopper species will start to hatch,’’ he said. “Until that happens, we won’t know what we’re looking at for the season.”

Weather conditions allowed for 5.4 days of field work and producers used that time to lamb, calve, shear sheep and plant.

Across the state, barley planting is 92 percent complete with 63 percent emerged. Both are ahead of the five-year average of 89 and 61 percent. Barley conditions are reported at 2 percent poor to very poor, 11 percent fair, and 87 percent good to excellent.

Seventy-percent of corn has been planted, with 8 percent emerged. The planting rate perfectly matches the five-year average and the emergence is slightly behind the 13 percent average. Last year 85 percent had been planted and 49 percent had emerged.

Oats were reported at 69 percent planted, 41 percent emerged and 1 percent jointed. Last year at this time, 94 percent of the oats had been planted with 69 percent emerged and 5 percent jointed. The five-year average shows 76 percent planted, 45 percent emerged and 2 percent jointed.

Sugarbeets were reported at 62 percent planted and 12 percent emerged. Last year saw 99 percent of the crop in the ground by now with 44 percent emerged. The five-year average is 89 percent planted and 29 percent emerged.

Winter wheat is also behind last year at 43 percent jointed. The five-year average is 64 percent. Winter wheat condition was rated 23 percent poor to very poor, 39 percent fair and 38 percent good.

Spring wheat was reported at 42 percent planted, far behind 97 percent this time last year. Seventeen percent of this year’s crop is now emerged, also well behind last year’s 73 percent emergence.

Dry beans are 17 percent planted. That is slightly ahead of last year’s 13 percent planted and the five-year average of 10 percent average.

Alfalfa condition was rated 8 percent poor, 46 percent fair, and 46 percent good to excellent.

Other hay condition was rated 6 percent poor, 60 percent fair and 34 percent good to excellent.

Across the state, spring calving is wrapping up at 95 percent complete. Calf losses were reported 49 percent light, 47 percent normal and 4 percent heavy. Livestock condition was reported 2 percent poor, 43 percent fair and 55 percent good to excellent. Twenty-five percent of cattle have been moved to summer pastures.

Lamb losses were reported 36 percent light, 59 percent normal and 5 percent

heavy. Farm flock ewe lambing is nearing the end with 92 percent complete. Farm flock shearing is now 94 percent complete.

Range flock lambing is 57 percent complete and shearing is 74 percent complete. Nineteen percent of sheep have been moved to summer pastures.

The recent rains have not helped Wyoming range and pasture condition. Currently the state reports 46 percent poor to very poor, 37 percent fair, and 17 percent good. Last year 31 percent was reported as poor to very poor, 44 percent at fair and 25 percent good. The five-year average shows 14 percent poor to very poor, 29 percent fair, and 57 percent good to excellent.

Irrigation water supplies were reported 28 percent short to very short, 71 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus, an improvement from last year which showed 40 percent short to very short, and 59 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. The five-year average shows 15 percent poor, 78 percent adequate and 7 percent surplus.

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