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High precipitation keeps farmers out of fields


High levels of precipitation were reported again for the week ending May 22, keeping most stations well above the normal levels of precipitation for this time of year, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Montana Field Office, on May 23. Ekalaka received the most accumulated precipitation with 7.13 inches. Highs were mostly in the 60s and 70s and lows ranged from the high teens to the high 40s. Superior recorded the highest temperatures in the state at 77 degrees. West Yellowstone had the weekly low at 18 degrees. Topsoil moisture adequate and surplus, at 99 percent, is up 1 percentage point from last week, and above last year's 91 percent. Subsoil moisture adequate and surplus is 99 percent, unchanged from last week, but above last year's 73 percent.

The weather outlook for May 27 through June 2 is near normal precipitation and below normal temperatures for east of the Divide, and for above normal precipitation and below normal temperatures west of the Divide. Normal temperatures for this period in Montana are highs in the lower 60s to the mid 70s, with lows in the lower 30s to the upper 40s.

Widespread flooding and saturated fields again kept a lot of the farmers out of the fields. Twelve percent of farmers still report not able to start fieldwork. Winter wheat conditions improved from last week with 72 percent good to excellent compared to 66 percent last week.

Eighty-eight percent of pastures are open compared to 91 percent last year. Forty percent of sheep and lambs are moved to summer ranges, up from the 17 percent last week, and above last year's 35 percent but below the five year average of 55 percent. Less than a third of the livestock reported are still receiving supplemental feed. Range and pasture feed condition is 71 percent good to excellent, up from 68 percent last week, and above last year's 55 percent, and the 5-year average of 53 percent.

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