The month of February began with cold temperatures and several bouts of snow, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Oklahoma Field Office, March 3. Oklahoma welcomed the snow with hopes that the added precipitation would help to alleviate drought conditions. After the first few weeks of February, there was still no improvement. Producers in Roger Mills County were in desperate need of precipitation to bring small grain crops to harvest. During the latter part of the month, high winds and worsening drought conditions contributed the extreme fire danger and the overall damage to crops and topsoil moisture. Toward the middle of the month, temperatures increased slightly. Most areas of the state were in the 40s to 50s while the Panhandle reached a high of 70 degrees on Feb. 24. Wildfires occurred in parts of the state, but were not widespread.
According to the most recent drought monitor, the majority of the state was rated severe drought to abnormally dry, while the Panhandle and the far southwest districts were rated in extreme to exceptional drought. Some canola was lost to winter kill. The southeast district averaged just over an inch of rainfall for the month, while the northeast district averaged less than half an inch. All nine districts were still below normal precipitation for the period since Sept. 1. Small grain condition ratings and pasture conditions were mostly fair to poor for the month of February. Topsoil and subsoil moisture conditions were rated 87 percent and 83 percent short to very short, respectively. Thirteen percent of topsoil moisture and 17 percent of subsoil moisture were rated adequate and none were rated surplus.
Conditions of small grains and canola continued to decline over the past month and were rated mostly fair to poor. Forty-two percent of the wheat crop was being grazed, six points ahead of the five-year average, and 16 points more than during February 2013. Seventy percent of rye was reported as grazed, 33 points more than the previous year and 10 points higher than normal. Thirty percent of oats were being grazed, compared to the five-year average of 21 percent.
Pasture and range conditions were rated mostly fair to poor for the month of February.
Grazing of small grains and pasture decreased with limited moisture conditions. Producers continued to provide hay and supplemental feed to herds as needed. Livestock conditions continued to be rated mostly good to fair.
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