MGGA Weekly Crop Condition Survey

 

JUNE 22, 2021 

Fergus County - Robert Bold
The winter wheat is headed. I saw a field of very short season winter wheat that headed over 2 weeks ago white capping. Never saw that before on winter wheat. Barley is starting to head out. Some of the spring wheat is shooting flag leaf. Everything needs moisture very bad. Looks like a crop insurance year. My hat is off to MGGA for their decades of work to get us the income protection we do have for years like this. The hay crop here is about 1/3 of normal. Some of it just grazed not hayed. The producers with insurance will be collecting on their hay crop. This year has been very interesting. No mosquitos but Mother Nature did a 1,000 to 1 exchange with us for hoppers. Harvest looks earlier than normal. The old saying in Montana--an early harvest is never a big harvest. Moisture conditions are fair receiving a disappointing trace of precipitation in the past week. Crops being grown are spring wheat and barley.

Flathead County - Tryg Koch
Crops are looking good. Getting nice rain showers about once a week so that's really helping. Winter wheat is headed, the first seeded canola is blooming so things are starting to look yellow. Moisture conditions are good receiving .3" of precipitation in the past week. Crops being grown are winter wheat, spring wheat, canola, hay and Californians. No diseases to report.

Hill County - Eric Hanson
Drought. It’s been keeping me up at night. 32 days with no rain. Record heat in the mix. Ever present wind. Grasshoppers. Weeds. Fire. Maybe a hint of pestilence. Only 4 different colored horses away from really knowing we’ve arrived. What a year. A pessimist or simply a realist? Who’s to say. Here at next year farms, we are always looking forward; to next year. So on that positive note, let’s dig into this crop report. Winter wheat has been preheated and ready to bake. Looks like a 50+ bushel crop from the road, but we will be lucky if it can even fully fill the heads. Only time will tell what happens. The spring crops still look slightly ok, but they are tapped for moisture and this heat next week will be the final nail in the coffin. A fast track to the finish line. It feels and looks like somehow we hit fast forward and landed a month later than where we are. Went from May to July. And no reprieve in any sort of forecast. Hoppers are plentiful in areas. Some guys are spraying for them. Going to be a long, drawn out and hot (and probably smoky) rest of the summer and into fall. I myself am just hoping it starts snowing soon. Moisture conditions are poor receiving not a drop of precipitation in the past week. Crops being grown are winter wheat, spring wheat and peas. Hoppers and mosquitoes are problems. Weeds are all still showing up. Expect to begin harvest July 11.
 

Judith Basin County - Greg Mathews
Record heat and then cool temps for the weekend. This is not June weather. Crops starting to show damage from the heat, turning blue or gray, bottom leaves on alfalfa drying up or falling off 3 to 9 inches. Hay is about 40% of last year or less. Some early spring seeded crops are trying to head out. Haying is in full swing, earliest ever. In the gumbo the ground is so dry that it is not cracking up and is like sand. Got .27 rain on Sunday and areas got less, Moore .10 and others more. Was hoping for a general rain but was disappointed. Moisture conditions are poor receiving .27" of precipitation in the past week. Crops being grown are winter wheat, barley and hay. Haven't seen any insects yet.

Teton County - Mitch Konen
Crops are progressing well as the roots are reaching down for submoisture. Irrigation is in full swing for all on the Greenfields bench resulting in rationing of water deliveries. Starting to see a little stress but not bad especially after the half inch of moisture over the weekend. Demand on the irrigation system has forced the drawdown of our lower storage reservoir Pishkun. Gibson reservoir is full as inflows remained greater than outflow. But as of today the inflows are starting to wane. Water reserves may be short for the end of summer. Temps are on the rise as are the mosquito population. The yellow peas are flowering strong now. Winter wheat is headed and starting to flower. Barley is in the boot. Moisture conditions are good receiving .5" of precipitation in the past week. Crops being grown are winter wheat, barley, peas and hay. Mosquitoes are a problem. Milkweed and sowthistle showing up.

    

JUNE 15, 2021 

Fergus County - Robert Bold
The weather is looking a lot like 1988. Daily high temperature records being broken the first half of June with August like temperatures. In fact, the records being broken are 1988 and 1987. According the NOAA we had the driest April with .21 inches of moisture in 127 years of records. We also had the 7th driest October 1 to May 31 in 127 years. The winter wheat is headed out and looking good going into Tuesday's 100 plus temperature. The spring crops are holding up very well all things considered--at least up to this point. Haying is in full swing. The windrows are small--even after raking. The dry fall and winter, cool to cold spring, below normal sub moisture and now the August hear really has hay production down. We are done spraying spring crop. Sprayed all the edges and some fields in total for hoppers. They are easy to kill when small. Hopefully they don't move into us now. Second chem fallow is over half done. Looking a little hairy out there. Have a good week and Father's Day!! Moisture conditions are fair receiving .65" of precipitation in the past week. Crops being grown are spring wheat and barley.

Hill County - Eric Hanson
The disappointment is real. The potential with our crops that was there, has now started to move backwards. We are currently at 25 days with no rain. You just can’t do that in May/June without issues later on down the crop production road. And we have continued on with the high temps and wind. It was 43 on Sunday morning. And we will hit 100 today with wind. Only 2 more days of that too. Ugh. What a roller coaster. All the storms that eastern Montana and Canada got last week skipped over or went around us. A few small areas may have got caught under the right cloud, but by and large we missed out. And we needed it. Needed it desperately. The winter wheat is mostly headed out, in bloom, and starting to try and fill. With no moisture to do that with. The spring crops are at a stand still and simply trying to hang on. It’s just too hot and dry. Haying is starting around the area. About 3-4 weeks early. Not sure if any beneficial moisture or temps will show up in time to save things, but we are sure hoping and praying it will. Painful to sit back and watch it bake day after day. I know I won’t be sitting; I’ll be wearing holes in the knees of my jeans praying for rain, snow, sleet, graupel, hail, or even a drizzle. Anything at this point. Moisture conditions are poor receiving 0" of precipitation in the past week. Crops being grown are winter wheat, spring wheat and peas. Grasshoppers, mosquitoes and flies are problems. Weeds are still showing up and drought disease. Expect to begin harvest July 18.
 

Judith Basin County - Greg Mathews
The hay is starting to show signs of the drought, ww is still okay for a couple more days along with the spring crop. There will be a lot of grass alfalfa not being cut this year as it is only 9 to 14 inches tall. Creeks are getting smaller and dams are not filling up. Billings area is super dry as is Harden, south to the border, Musselshell Valley can see the fire towards Townsend Sunday, will have to get the fire truck ready as it will be a long fire season. Sorry for all the bad news, wish there was more joy to spread. Moore area north and south got a big rain Wednesday evening around .94. At home .02. Will start haying Wednesday. Moisture conditions are fair receiving .02" of precipitation in the past week. Crops being grown are winter wheat, barley and hay.

Teton County - Mitch Konen
The early seeded crops have finally set roots and is canopied quite well this past week. The later seeded crops are still setting roots and look like they are dormant for the last week. Finally finished up the spraying and moved through some ditching readying for the irrigation season to begin. Winter wheat and hay ground is being irrigated and that water should roll right into the spring crops. Crop scouting and moisture probing has yielded really good conditions here on the Greenfields bench. The 4" of moisture received in May is holding in there as subsoil moisture. The top 4-6" of soil is dry, but easily punched through with the probe and can relatively push the probe close to 2.5 feet to almost 3. But with the roots finding this moisture it won't last long. Especially in this heat. Irrigation is definitely the next chore on the list and the water is ordered. My peas are about 6" tall and coming on strong now right along with the barley. Should start seeing some flowers soon I would expect. This is a new crop for me so my learning curve just got steeper. Dryland grass is coming on strong as well. Hopefully can get another shot of moisture out of these t-storms that are welling up of late, before haying season. Been getting a lot of calls for hay already from the central and eastern part of the state looking for hay for this winter as it sounds they are going to be short with this drought and the hoppers. Moisture conditions are good receiving no precipitation in the past week. Crops being grown are barley, peas and hay. Mosquitoes are a problem. Weeds, you name it, it is there.

    


JUNE 8, 2021
 

Fergus County - Robert Bold
This is supposed to be our Monsoon Season, but it has been missing us and a lot of others as well. Our snow and rain from a couple of weeks ago is used up. The August temperatures last week did not help anything. The grass and hay are at a stand still. Some are starting to hay this week and get what there is. At least if rains come later, it will green up. But the windrows are going to be small--even after raking. Probably make a bale per acre. Far below average. Moisture conditions are fair receiving trace amounts of precipitation in the past week. Crops being grown are spring wheat and barley. Lots of little hoppers. We are spraying grass way, fence lines and road ditches along every field. They don't seem to be very far into the fields now. When we left to go camping for three days, there were no hoppers. When we got back, it was time to spray the millions/billions of them. Wild oats & kochia showing up. Done spraying the barley and over half done with the spring wheat.

Fergus County - Boyd Heilig
Things are looking fairly good at the moment. Spraying the spring crop now. Plenty of weeds. Lucked out and got some rain on the ground that was top dressed. Will need more rain before things start to head south. Moisture conditions are fair receiving .35" of precipitation in the past week. Crops being grown are winter wheat and spring wheat.

Flathead County - Tryg Koch
Spraying of spring crops are well under way. Some guys have cut and are now baling some first cutting hay. With the warm temps last week things really took off and are growing well. Moisture conditions are good. Crops being grown are winter wheat, spring wheat, canola and hay.

Hill County - Eric Hanson
As farmers we are always looking to break records, whether it’s yield, or how many days it took to seed our crop, etc. But breaking record heat numbers in the first week of June is not one we like to talk about. The old Norwegian in me kept saying “oof-ta!” And then the wind for a few days to follow didn’t help anything either. I had to ask my neighbor if he had a variety of winter wheat in with chameleon characteristics, because it went from a nice green to a pale blue in a matter of days. I guess it was a week of rooting down out there for everything. Our top 4-5” of soil moisture is already around 1/4 of what it was 2 weeks ago. Going to make those crops work down to the 8-12” profile to find some moisture. Or a nice rain or two would do as well. Always amazes me how fast moisture disappears in this country. The winter wheat is just starting to head out and the spring wheat is hanging in there. Kind of got beat up from the past 5 days. It all needs some moisture soon. We had some storms roll through to the south and east of us on Friday evening but it missed us by 75-100 miles. They looked pretty wild on radar. And so it goes. Great growing days ahead of us, I just hope we can keep the high side of the temps away for awhile and receive some moisture. I was deeply saddened to see that the hoppers have hatched. As well as a strong hatch of mosquitos. Only time will tell how bad they will be. Moisture conditions are poor receiving not a drop of precipitation in the past week. Crops being grown are winter wheat, spring wheat and peas. Grasshoppers and mosquitoes are problems. Kochia, mustard, thistle, and so on are also problems. Expect to begin harvest July 25.
 

Judith Basin County - Greg Mathews
Has been a HOT week with too high temps. The only benefit was the spring crop really grew. Had only 2.04 inches for the total for May. Hope June does much better. Some creeks starting to slow down. Grass hay still looks to be disappointing, very short. Still some fertilizer going down and spring crop spraying. I finished spraying today and will start over on the sf. Haying equipment will come out of the shed this week as it looks like haying will start in a week or two, earliest ever. Grasshoppers showing up in the Winifred area badly. Moisture conditions are fair receiving .14" of precipitation in the past week. Crops being grown are winter wheat, barley and hay.

Teton County - Mitch Konen
Crops are progressing well with the instant summer of heat units and sunshine as the crops seem to have been delayed with the cool wet spring, but the previous moisture will not last long with the excessive heat and wind. Topsoil moisture is adequate while the subsoil moisture is still delinquent. Sprayers are the common mode of transportation around the area when the wind is not blowing. Wild oats are thick this year with the added moisture at planting time. Folks started fertigating or irrigating their winter wheat and hay ground this last week. Snow is disappearing quickly from the tops of the Rockies as river and stream flows have risen. All in all it looks like another good year here on the Greenfields bench. Moisture conditions are good receiving .01" of precipitation in the past week. Crops being grown are barley, peas and hay. Kochia, wild oats, lambsquarter and pigweed are showing up.

    


JUNE 1, 2021
 

Fergus County - Robert Bold
Got back from camping. Light frost every night up there at the Boulder River. Home now looking for hopper hatches. Heard through the grape vine the south slopes are hatching big time. We will be spraying spring crop this week. Warm enough now for Kochia and Buckwheat. Wild oats should be on the way. Judging from what I call indicator weeds, the cheat grass and Garrison Creeping Foxtail have all headed out early. Thus showing signs of the dry open winter stress and the spring moisture stress--up until now. We will need a lot more rain before July. None in the forecast for the nest 10 days--just warmer and hotter than normal. Moisture conditions are fair receiving .15" of precipitation in the past week. Crops being grown are spring wheat and barley.

Flathead County - Tryg Koch
Spring crops are looking pretty good with the exception of some canola that took a 24 degree night. We lost about 40 percent of our stand but the ones that survived are growing and looking ok. Saw today a few hay fields getting knocked down so bring on the nice weather!! Moisture conditions are excellent. Crops being grown are winter wheat, spring wheat, canola and hay.

Hill County - Eric Hanson
It’s a beautiful thing. That thing we call rain. And coupled with some warm days and nights, the crops are back in growing mode. The winter wheat showed some slight tissue damage on leaves that were exposed to the cold and not protected under the snow. The spring wheat was completely covered and I haven’t seen any damage on that or any other crops. So that’s good. And the ducks are happy. Every puddle in the country has a pair or two calling it home. Those puddles are about gone already. We just finished up chemfallow this weekend so the first pass is in the books. Once this confused heat wave moves through (it’s June 4th, not July 4th!), we will be spraying the spring crops. Then back to politely asking for rain. With the heat and wind predicted we will be once again begging at the spigot. But crops look good. Everything is growing. And it feels like summer is really here. Moisture conditions are good receiving nothing for precipitation in the past week. Crops being grown are winter wheat, spring wheat and peas. Still no hoppers but the mosquitoes are starting to show up. Too many weeds. Expect to begin harvest July 25.
 

Judith Basin County - Greg Mathews
Had a little rain freezing temps and some warmer weather last week. Not much field work done till the weekend. A few still seeding but for the most part everyone is done. Winter wheat is progressing along and looking a little better. Spring crop is about too or ready to be sprayed for the most part. Alfalfa is coming along but some is extremely slow to take off. Had only .11 rain last week. Grass is slow to take off with cattle being taken to summer pasture. Some are down sizing their herds. Hope everyone had a great Memorial Weekend. Moisture conditions are fair receiving .11" of precipitation in the past week. Crops being grown are winter wheat, barley and hay.