MWBC Crop Conditions: Take us Back to 2005

According to NASS: Cooler temperatures and minimal moisture were observed across the state of Montana last week, according to the Mountain Regional Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, approximately 89 percent of Montana is abnormally dry or in a current state of drought, with about 31 percent of the state in severe to exceptional drought. Reporters in Daniels and Phillips counties reported minimal moisture was received the past week, and windy conditions continue to dry out the soil. Topsoil moisture conditions were 41 percent adequate to surplus, down significantly from the previous year at 86 percent. Subsoil moisture conditions were 34 percent adequate to surplus. Barley planted was estimated at 38 percent complete, falling slightly behind the 5-year average of 39 percent. Planting of dry edible beans progressed well this week, with an estimated 15 percent of the crop planted, slightly behind the 5-year average of 16 percent. Durum wheat planting has progressed ahead of the previous year, with an estimated 16 percent of the crop planted. Oats planted is estimated at 15 percent complete, falling behind of previous year and behind the 5-year average of 24 percent. Oilseed planting continues, with an estimated 18 percent of canola and 20 percent of flaxseed planted, both behind the 5-year averages of 23 percent and 21 percent, respectively. Spring wheat planted was reported at 33 percent complete, falling slightly behind the 5-year average of 34 percent. Sugarbeet planting progressed well last week, with an estimated 26 percent of the crop planted, behind the 5-year average of 42 percent. Winter wheat was reported with 87 percent of the crop breaking dormancy, behind the previous year at 95 percent. Winter wheat conditions were rated as 46 percent good to excellent compared to 61 percent this time last year. Grazing accessibility is up slightly from the previous week, with an estimated 82 percent of pastures open, compared to 80 percent the previous week. Calving and lambing continue to make progress, with 86 percent of cows calved and 79 percent of ewes lambed. Producers have begun to move livestock to summer pastures, with an estimated 17 percent of cattle and calves and 20 percent of sheep and lambs moved.


Conditions have digressed slightly; planting has continued pace and producers near mountain ranges are seeing the mountain moisture benefits. Take a look at the conditions according to Nate Powell-Palm a first-generation farmer who is experience optimistic conditions:


Over the last 20 years Montana has seen inconsistent moisture conditions. 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2017, and this year have all been extremely dry. It is safe to say that around 50% of the time our producers are experiencing drought on some level. 2018, 2019, and 2020 were exceptional years, we saw big yields, high test weight with pre harvest sprout and planting conditions being the story. This year compares to the early 2000’s when producers were planting into dry soil, lets hope we see a 2005 type year where conditions improve throughout the growing season.


A few things I learned this week:

  • I continue to gain an appreciation and respect for our producers across the state. The stresses and turmoil they experience each unique growing season is insurmountable. I am not a farmer, and they need recognition and support more than ever from society. Talk to your farmers, show them support, ask them how they are doing and THANK them for their hard work.
  • Buzz barley is continuing to show positive results in a food setting. This is buzz barley Risotto. YUM!
  • In the malting process beta glucan levels significantly drop “B-glucan is a non-starch polysaccharide (made up of glucoses just like starch, just arranged differently). This means that as B-glucan is degraded it contributes glucose to the fermentable portion of the wort”



Field days are back on! Look at the schedule CLICK HERE


This is my sister Grace Anderson's puppy, waiting for the spring wheat in Augusta MT to emerge.

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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