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Weather delays Cowboy State harvest
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Cold and wet conditions were seen across much of Wyoming last week, delaying fieldwork and crop progress, according to the NASS Mountain Regional Field Office in Cheyenne.
Topsoil and subsoil moisture levels were mostly in the adequate to short range, however soil moisture improvement was seen last week.
A reporter from Southeastern Wyoming said fluctuating temperatures were the norm last week. Freezing temperatures early on were followed by warm temperatures, reaching the 60s and 70s in some parts of the region. The area’s corn has yet to dry out enough for harvest.
The corn crop statewide was reportedly 91 percent mature, with 89 percent of the silage crop harvested. That compares to 75 percent and 79 percent last week, respectively. Maturity for the period was slightly ahead of the 89 percent reported last year at this time, and well ahead of the 80 percent average over the previous five years.
Dry edible beans were 84 percent cut and 74 percent harvested for the period, ahead of the 79 percent and 70 percent, respectively, last year, but behind last year’s numbers, when 100 percent of the crop was cut by this time and 95 percent was harvested.
Sugar beet harvest lagged behind last year, with 22 percent harvested, compared to 48 percent of the crop last year.
“We had some damage” from the freeze, said Jerry Darnell, vice president for agriculture for the Western Sugar Cooperative in Scottsbluff, Neb. As of Wednesday, the company was still buying beets on allocation, but had curtailed processing to give the roots a chance to recover from the cold.
“We’re allowing the beets to heal up right now,” he said. “We’re hoping to resume full harvest this weekend.”
Sugarbeets across eastern Wyoming and the Nebraska Panhandle were impacted by the cold snap, Darnell said. The freeze stops growth in the plant.
“There probably will be no additional tonnage or sugar put on” from this point, Darnell said. “We’ll move forward and get the sugar we can out of the beets.
“This takes the potential for additional gain out of the equation,” he said. “We’re estimating a 27-ton crop with 16.5 percent sugar.”
A reporter from Western Wyoming said producers were trying to get the third cutting of alfalfa completed but, due to the wet and freezing conditions, harvest was postponed. In southern Wyoming, a reporter stated that temperatures reached freezing levels every night with small snowstorms seen throughout the week. The U.S. drought monitor released on Oct. 10, showed most of Wyoming with good moisture, but with abnormally dry conditions in the Western, Southwestern and South Central parts of the state. Irrigation water supply across Wyoming was rated 4 percent poor, 28 percent fair, and 68 percent good. Stock water supplies across Wyoming were rated 7 percent very short, 22 percent short, and 71 percent adequate.
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October 18, 2019 at 10:11AM