Second hay cutting wraps up over average

Hot, dry conditions gave way to much cooler and rainy conditions across most of Montana this week, though some areas missed both the cooler temperatures and precipitation, according to the Mountain Regional Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA. Daytime high temperatures for the week ranged from the upper 80s to 100 degrees in Brandenberg, Jordan and Wolf Point. Overnight lows ranged from the upper 20s to the mid 50s with a statewide low of 29 degrees in Olney. Precipitation was hit-or-miss, but some areas received a good amount of rain and snow with the largest amount recorded this week at 1.58 inches in Mizpah.

Small grain harvest continued to progress ahead of normal, despite being somewhat slowed by moisture in the parts of the state that received rain, with 89 percent of barley, 79 percent of Durum wheat, 90 percent of oats, and 87 percent of spring wheat harvested by week’s end. The season’s second cutting of hay is wrapping up ahead of average with 91 percent of alfalfa and 90 percent of other hay cut and reporters are noting producers are busy baling straw. Pasture and rangeland conditions continued to deteriorate, with just 30 percent rated good to excellent which was better than last year’s 21 percent but below the five-year average of 38 percent.

Producers continue to move animals off summer pastures with 25 percent of cattle and 25 percent of sheep moved, well ahead of the five-year average for both, which some reporters attribute to fires on rangelands and others planning on culling animals early due to drought and hail damage to feed crops.

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