Severe hailstorm damages crops in Judith Basin County

A lightening strike hits near Pacer Coulee Road outside of Denton earlier this month. The storm following the lightening, unfortunately, damaged the crops shown here.

Photo courtesy of Kelly Mantooth


Measurable precipitation was recorded at 82 of the 106 weather stations located across the state during the week, with the largest accumulation reported at Circle, where 0.98 inch fell, according to the Mountain Regional Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA. High temperatures for the week ranged from the mid 80s to well over the century mark, and low temperatures ranged from the upper 20s to the upper 50s. 

Producers in the northwest were busy irrigating their second cutting of alfalfa hay. Reports from Sanders County indicated winter wheat harvest had yet to begin. Hot, dry, windy weather in north central Montana aided rapid small grain ripening. Irrigated barley in Teton County was beginning to turn color, and producers were applying the last round of irrigation before they begin harvest. The corn crop in Valley County benefitted from warmer temperatures, and reports indicated development improved during the week. 

A severe hailstorm struck Judith Basin county, with reports indicating that virtually all crops were damaged – in some cases as much as 100 percent. 

Most small grain crops in Sweet Grass County were being harvested for forage since moisture supplies were not adequate enough to produce a viable crop. Statewide, topsoil moisture conditions declined slightly from last week but remain above last year with 66 percent of topsoil rated adequate to surplus and 63 percent of subsoil rated adequate to surplus, compared with 43 percent and 48 percent last year, respectively. 

Dry peas were being harvested at a pace equal to the five-year average, while lentil harvest remained slightly behind normal. The winter wheat harvest gained speed as optimal weather conditions allowed producers to harvest 18 percent of the crop during the week, advancing progress well ahead of the five-year average. Winter wheat condition is rated 61 percent good to excellent, compared with 56 percent last year and a five-year average of 63 percent. 

Recent rainfall boosted pasture growth in some areas; however, overall condition ratings remain well below normal.



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