Unseasonably warm, dry weather followed by needed moisture
For the month of December 2012, unseasonably warm and dry weather the first half of the month was followed by rain and snow that brought some much needed moisture to the state, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Nebraska Field Office.
Temperatures averaged above normal but lows fell below zero the last half of the month. Snow provided cover for wheat, but made it difficult for cattle to graze stalks.
Supplemental feeding is underway and feed supplies were adequate with cattle in good condition. The eastern third and southern tier of counties received well above normal precipitation while most of the west was below normal. Fertilizer was still being applied until mid month when rain and snow fell. Wheat conditions continue well below year ago levels.
The majority of the state saw temperatures average 1 to 5 degrees above normal during December. Topsoil temperatures ranged from 21 to 34 degrees during the last week of the month and in general were cooler in the central third of the state. The eastern third and southern tier of counties received from .7 to 2 inches of precipitation, while much of the remainder of the state received a half inch or less.
Wheat conditions statewide rated 15 percent very poor, 34 percent poor, 37 percent fair, 14 percent good, and 0 percent excellent, well below last year when 74 percent of the crop rated good or excellent. Hay and forage supplies rated 10 percent very short, 29 percent short, 61 percent adequate, and 0 percent surplus, well below a year ago when 96 percent was adequate to surplus.
Cattle and Calves condition rated 0 percent very poor, 2 percent poor, 28 percent fair, 64 percent good, and 6 percent excellent, well below last year's 93 percent good or excellent.