Winter wheat condition deteriorates significantly since November

With the exception of a few extremely isolated areas along the southeastern border, precipitation has been scarce across much of the state since the beginning of November, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Mountain Regional Field Office, New Mexico. During the most recent 60-day period, a very large portion of the entire State has accumulated less than 25 percent of the normal precipitation level. According to the Drought Monitor released on Dec. 28, 2017, nearly 63 percent of New Mexico was classified as abnormally dry, and just over 30 percent was classified as suffering from moderate drought. Overall, topsoil moisture levels were reported as 21 percent adequate to surplus, compared with 44 percent on November 26, and 37 percent last year. There was no measurable moisture recorded at 24 of the 45 reporting weather stations during the month. Of the stations that accumulated precipitation during the month, no station reported more than 0.76 inch.

Statewide, winter wheat condition has deteriorated significantly since the end of November, with 27 percent reported as good to excellent, compared with 64 percent on Nov. 26, and 8 percent last year. Comments from Curry County noted that cattle on some wheat fields will be moved to dryland grass fields soon. Supplemental feeding was increasing in areas where native feedstuffs were already deteriorating. Hay and roughage supplies were reported as 5 percent very short, 21 percent short, 73 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus, compared with 3 percent very short, 18 percent short, 70 percent adequate, and 9 percent surplus on Nov. 26. Stock water supplies were reported as 10 percent very short, 23 percent short, 66 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus, compared with 5 percent very short, 16 percent short, 75 percent adequate, and 4 percent surplus on Nov. 26.