Crop Progress, Hail? Rain? Bears?
This weekend we saw rain in the Great Falls area, some snow and hail near the rocky mountain front. This moisture is welcomed, the hail damage is not. Still waiting to hear the extent of what happened. Near Ulm MT the winter wheat is looking excellent, 100% headed out. If the weather is typical in July, we may see an on-time harvest.
Spring Wheat and Barley are done planting. Durum is still behind. A comment from our Director Adam Carney in Scobey Mt “Out here there are still lots of farmers in the field planting. I do not see durum acres decreasing. We are just later seeding then most of the state.” Durum is reported at 87% planted with being around 95% last year. It is possible that durum acres could be down, but given the lower than normal stocks, and poor growing conditions I think durum farmers are motived to get their acres in the ground.
Apart from this weekend we have been experiencing hot and dry days. That has been reflected in the moisture conditions. Both topsoil and subsoil adequate moisture levels dropped over 10%.This weekends rain seems to not be reflected in the numbers. Charlie Bumgarner in Great Falls MT experienced “a little hail that didn’t amount to anything and about 3 inches of rain. This is enough rain to carry winter wheat to harvest, and it really helps the spring crops.”
Spring wheat, barley, and winter wheat saw an increase in conditions. We see a 9% shift from good to excellent this week. If the weather stays on the same path, I expect to see the excellent rating much higher. I have yet to see a poor looking field. There are zero signs of disease in the photos below. Too much moisture at the wrong time can cause potential disease issues, there is not much concern as the weather shifted to warm with blue skies across the state.
Bears are out and about right now. Near Belt Montana I saw this sign warning hikers to watch out for a Mom and her cubs. There are reports of a grizzly bear 20 miles west of Big Sandy, that’s really far from the mountains! Always to remember to be bear aware out there. Grizzly bears once inhabited the prairies and are drawn out of the Rockies every spring in search for food. I see this as a sign, grizzlies bears are drawn to perfect wheat and barley fields.