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Many fields too wet to begin planting


Montana received precipitation throughout the state during the week ending April 19, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Montana Field Office, April 20.

Grass range received the most weekly accumulated precipitation of 1.40 inches. Highs were mostly in the 60s and 70s, and lows were mostly in the teens and 20s. Culbertson, Nashua, Sidney, and Wolf Point shared the high temperature at 72 degrees. Wisdom had the weekly low temperature for the second week in a row at 15 degrees. Topsoil moisture adequate and surplus is 89 percent, below last week's 91 percent, but above last year's 30 percent, and the five-year average of 61 percent.

Subsoil moisture adequate and surplus is 70 percent, below last week's 73 percent, but above last year's 21 percent, and the five-year average of 42 percent. The number of days suitable for field work was 3.7, up from last week's 2.7 days.

The weather outlook for April 27 through May 3 is for above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation both east and west of the continental divide. Normal temperatures for this period in Montana are highs in the lower 50s to the mid 60s and lows ranging from mid 20s to the upper 30s.

Sixty-five percent of farmers have not started their field work yet. Fields are still too wet to begin planting crops, but a warm week would allow for producers to start planting crops such as corn and oilseeds. Thirteen percent of winter wheat is still dormant, compared to only 32 percent last week. Winter wheat conditions are similar to last week but better than last year and the five-year average.

Sixty-five percent of pastures are open for grazing, compared to 76 percent last year and 79 percent for the five-year average. Range and pasture feed conditions declined from last week with 17 percent good to excellent, compared to 26 percent last week, 14 percent last year, and a five-year average of 28 percent.

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