Winter freeze, wind damage to wheat remains low

The month of January was predominantly cold and snowy for much of Montana, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Mountain Regional Field Office, Montana. High temperatures ranged from the low 30s to the mid-50s. Low temperatures ranged from the teens to -42 degrees in Circle and Scobey. Precipitation in the form of snowfall was present across most of the state but a few areas are still below normal. The highest recorded precipitation for the month was in Heron with 4.88 inches of moisture. Brockway, Cut Bank, and Harlowton were the only stations that did not report any precipitation. Topsoil moisture conditions were 72 percent adequate to surplus, which is above last year’s 67 percent. Subsoil moisture conditions are 61 percent adequate to surplus which is well below last year’s 82 percent. Winter freeze and wind damage to winter wheat remains low despite icy conditions reported in central areas of the state, with 85 percent of reporters observing no freeze & drought damage, and 86 percent reporting no wind damage. Snow coverage for the state is rated 58 percent good to excellent compared with 57 percent at this time last year. Reporters did note that high winds in the Park county area caused some evaporation of the snow cover. Winter wheat condition is rated 66 percent good to excellent, compared with 70 percent last year.

Monthly reports will be released for February on Monday, February 26, 2018; and for March on Monday, March 26, 2018.