Lower temps help reduce wheat strip mosaic virus

Much of Montana experienced freezing lows and cool days until the weekend when warm, sunny days returned, according to the Mountain Regional Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA. Daytime high temperatures for the week ranged from the upper 60s to 87 degrees in Joliet and Yellowtail. Overnight lows ranged from the lower 20s to the mid 40s with a statewide low of 22 degrees in Olney.

Red Lodge received the highest amount of precipitation for the week, with 1.37 inches of moisture but precipitation was widely scattered this week and some areas were missed entirely.

Producers harvesting corn for grain and silage are progressing ahead of normal progress with 23 percent of corn for grain and 40 percent of corn silage harvested.

Small grain harvest is wrapping up ahead of normal for all but barley, which is right at the five-year average of 95 percent complete. Winter wheat seeding has begun in some areas with 23 percent complete but reporters in other areas said producers are waiting for a freeze to help reduce the chance of wheat stripe mosaic virus appearing again in the spring. Second cuttings of hay are nearly done for the year with 96 percent of alfalfa and 93 percent of other hay cut. Reporters in the northwestern part of the state noted that hay producers in that area are getting a rare third cutting this year thanks to good weather.

Pasture and rangeland conditions continued to deteriorate, with just 28 percent rated good to excellent, which was better than last year’s 20 percent, but below the five-year average of 34 percent.

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