MWBC Crop Conditions: Breaking Dormancy


According to NASS: 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. Topsoil moisture conditions were 24 percent adequate to surplus, down significantly from 47 percent in the previous report. Subsoil moisture conditions were 29 percent adequate to surplus, down from 49 percent in the previous report. Snow coverage for the state has declined from the previous month, with 2 percent rated good to excellent, compared to 57 percent rated good to excellent in the previous report. Winter wheat condition is rated 54 percent good to excellent, down from 69 percent in the previous report. Pasture and range conditions declined slightly from the last report with 9 percent rated good to excellent. Livestock producers are providing supplemental feed at a lower rate than the previous year, with 86 percent of cattle and calves and 89 sheep and lambs being fed. Overall, weather for calving and lambing has been excellent, but without moisture livestock reductions are likely due to drought conditions. An estimated 35 percent of calving and 26 percent lambing has been completed, compared to 30 percent and 25 percent, respectively, the previous year.


March is wrapping up, producers are picking up seed, rolling out their planting equipment and implementing their game plan. Hints of green across the golden triangle are appearing, winter wheat is now 18% breaking dormancy. With the excitement of spring, there is an underlying concern of drought across the state. It is dry here, we have yet to get much moisture since February.


We still anticipate larger than average spring wheat plantings given favorable prices. Montana is continuing to gain a larger share hold of U.S spring wheat, as our quality conscious buyers are looking toward strong milling and baking characteristics.


Snow cover is minimal, winter wheat conditions are fair to good, and a slight uptick in freeze and drought damage. There are also sightings of wind damage which will increase, we are seeing 60 mph (96 KPH) wind gusts the past 2 days.




These photos were taken on 3/25/21 at the O’Hara farm. The winter wheat is coming up with a good stand. With the below average conditions there is still a lot of good-looking wheat emerging.




We were fortunate enough to assist in Northern Crops Institute’s newest barley to beer course which will be viewed worldwide. Montana was represented by some of the hardest working passionate leaders in the barley industry.


The 2021 growing season is uncertain and yet to be written. MWBC will be here giving you weekly transparent updates throughout the growing season. If you would like to know more details of our current conditions, please feel free to reach out to us.


Stay tuned for our take on the prospective planting report to be released later this week!


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


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