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Crop Progress, Cold Snap Sparks Planting Optimism

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According to NASS: Dry conditions and warm temperatures were observed across Montana during the past week, according to the Mountain Regional Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA. Reporters in Valley and Sweet Grass counties noted that several fires are spreading across the state, fueled by high winds, hot temperatures, and dry conditions. Topsoil moisture conditions for the state were 26 percent adequate to surplus, compared to 31 percent in the previous week and 74 percent the previous year. Subsoil moisture conditions were rated 39 percent adequate to surplus compared to 68 percent the previous year. Barley harvest made good progress last week, with an estimated 80 percent of the crop harvested, ahead of the previous year at 74 percent, but behind the 5-year average of 87 percent. Corn for silage harvest is progressing well, with an estimated 20 percent of the crop harvested, ahead of the previous year at 19 percent, but behind the 5-year average of 21 percent. Dry edible bean harvest is moving along steadily, with an estimated 65 percent of the crop harvested, ahead of the previous year at 46 percent. Dry edible pea and lentil harvest is almost complete, with an estimated 98 percent of the dry pea crop and 95 percent of the lentil crop harvested, compared to the previous week at 92 percent and 89 percent, respectively. Durum wheat harvest made great progress last week, with an estimated 75 percent of the crop harvested, compared to 46 percent the previous week and the 5-year average of 72 percent. Oilseed harvest continues, with an estimated 58 percent of flaxseed and 67 percent of the mustard seed crop harvested, compared to the previous year at 16 percent and 45 percent, respectively. Safflower harvested is estimated at 25 percent complete, ahead of the previous year and 5-year average at 7 percent and 20 percent, respectively. Oat harvest is starting to wrap up, with an estimated 83 percent of the crop harvested, equal to the 5-year average, and ahead of the previous year at 66 percent. Spring wheat harvested is estimated at 84 percent complete, significantly ahead of the previous year at 57 percent, and slightly ahead of the 5-year average of 83 percent. Second cutting for alfalfa and other hay is progressing ahead of the previous year, with 84 percent of alfalfa and 70 percent of other hay harvested. Winter wheat harvest is virtually complete, with an estimated 97 percent of the crop harvested, ahead of the previous year at 88 percent and the 5-year average of 96 percent. Planting of the 2021 winter wheat crop has begun, with an estimated 5 percent of the crop planted. Dry conditions have sped up movement of cattle and sheep from summer pasture, with an estimated 9 percent of cattle and calves and 11 percent of sheep and lambs moved from pasture. Reporters continue to note that grasshoppers, along with the dry conditions, are depleting pasture condition and stunting regrowth across the state.

 

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A few brave producers have and started planting winter wheat, putting the state at 5%. Durum harvest jumped a staggering 29% now at 75% above last years 36%. It seems we have escaped last years harvest woes and have a lot more high-quality grain in the bin.

 

At the state grain lab in Great Falls, FGIS inspectors have seen a very high-quality new crop. There has been some grading of insect bored kernels which would indicate potential wireworm damage. That damage seems to come from the same region the last 2 years.

 

The weather has been crazy the last week. High temperatures and forest fires followed by a cold rainy day with snow in the mountains and frost at several locations. According to Montana Grain Growers Association’s producer survey there is increased optimism for better winter wheat planting. The cold snap has slowed down grasshopper activity yet warmer temperatures are in the future. That is great news as many are likely wanting to lower their risk of potential drought next year and plant more winter wheat.

 

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This weekend I was able to hike in the flathead national forest. Filled with crystal clear glacial lakes and minimal tourists, this area is often where locals go. Luckily for us it is huckleberry season in that area. A huckleberry is a mountain berry that grows wild in subalpine slopes and forests. Typically, the lower in elevation the berries are ripe in July and the higher you go in elevation the later ripe. Throughout the summer Montanans and animals are on the hunt to find the ripest elevation. The berry tastes like a blueberry but packs a bigger punch of flavor and tart. If you have never had a handful, it is a delightful experience.

 

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If you need help sourcing wheat and barley ingredients for your business, we would love to help. We will connect you with several options that provide numerous methods of delivery. All our wheat and barley suppliers can conduct negotiations virtually to fit your country or states regulations if needed, otherwise social distancing is not a problem out here =)

-Sam Anderson

WBC@mt.gov

 

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