Livestock birthing underway

This week was mostly cool and spring-like with scattered precipitation in the form of rain and snow, which varied greatly across Montana, according to the Mountain Regional Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA.
High temperatures ranged from the mid 50s to the lower 80s, and low temperatures ranged from 8 degrees in Wisdom to the lower 30s. Precipitation in the form of rain and snow was present, but varied across the state, with the highest amount recorded in Fort Benton with 0.94 of an inch of moisture. Other reporting stations recorded receiving between none to 0.90 of an inch of moisture.
Topsoil moisture conditions were 93 percent adequate to surplus, which is above last year’s 50 percent. Subsoil moisture conditions are 87 percent adequate to surplus, well above last year’s 49 percent. Some reporters are noting fields are too wet to begin planting, and there were only 3.7 days suitable for fieldwork this week, compared with 5.5 days suitable last year and the five-year average of 4.3 days suitable.
Despite these difficulties in some areas, spring seeding has begun for some, with 1 percent of barley and 2 percent of spring wheat planted so far, which is behind both last year and the five-year average for both crops.
Winter wheat continued breaking dormancy as temperatures warmed with 83 percent out of dormancy. Winter wheat condition is rated 63 percent good to excellent, compared with 55 percent last year. Livestock grazing is 93 percent open to difficult, compared to 83 percent at the same time last year.
Pasture and range conditions are emerging from winter, with 56 percent rated good to excellent compared, with 20 percent last year and the five-year average of 26 percent. Livestock producers are providing supplemental feed as they wait for pastures to start greening, with 85 percent of cattle and 88 percent of sheep being fed.
Livestock birthing is well underway, with 68 percent of calving and 65 percent of lambing complete so far.



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