Frost and moisture delay sugar beet harvest

Montana was cool and rainy, with some snow at the beginning and end of the week and a few warm, sunny days in between, according to the Mountain Regional Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA. Daytime high temperatures for the week ranged from the upper 40s to 82 degrees in Miles City. Overnight lows sank to the single digits in several locations and ranged overall from 3 degrees to the lower 30s with a statewide low of 3 degrees in Dunkirk.

Heron recorded the highest amount of precipitation for the week with 3.10 inches of moisture. Most other reporting stations reported receiving measurable precipitation but accumulation varied widely, from 0.03 to 2.56 inches of moisture. Fieldwork continued to be sluggish for much of the week with only 2.5 days suitable compared with 2.6 days last week and 7.0 days last year.

Producers harvesting corn for grain and silage remain ahead of normal with 34 percent of corn for grain and 94 percent of corn silage harvested compared with five-year averages of 25 percent and 93 percent, respectively. Corn condition is rated 66 percent good to excellent, which is ahead of both last year and the five-year average despite freezing temperatures.

Winter wheat seeding continues with 84 percent complete, which is well behind last year and the five-year average. Winter wheat is now 71 percent emerged, behind last year, but ahead of the five-year average, and is currently rated 71 percent good to excellent condition compared with 72 percent last year.

Potato harvest continues behind last year and the five-year average with 59 percent harvested compared with 75 percent last year and the five-year average of 70 percent harvested.

Sugarbeet harvest was delayed by both moisture and frost this week and progress is now behind both last year’s rate and the five-year average with 33 percent complete so far.

Pasture and rangeland conditions improved slightly, with 31 percent rated good to excellent which was better than last year’s 19 percent, but still below the five-year average of 34 percent. Livestock producers continue to move stock off summer pastures, with 54 percent of cattle and calves moved and 75 percent of sheep and lambs moved. Livestock receiving supplemental feed remains well below last year, with 10 percent of cattle and calves and 12 percent of sheep and lambs being fed.

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