Thursday, April 13, 2017

Just in from the USDA

Equipment is at a standstill till things dry out, Putnam photo

Idaho Spring Ag outlook

Pocatello—Heavy rain across Idaho left water standing in fields for the second straight week and left conditions too wet for work, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service Northwest Regional Field Office out of Olympia, Wash.

Officials are keeping an eye out for fields with standing water, because excessive water creates ideal conditions for certain diseases.

”There’s a Plethora of diseases and if we do have a long, wet spring, that could become a problem. There are places in fields where some that is occurring but they're localized and so far haven't not spread across whole fields,” said Reed Findlay, Bingham/Bannock County Extension Educator for University of Idaho.

The National Ag Stats Service said that fewer than four days were suitable for fieldwork.The month of March was also very wet in Idaho, capping off a year that saw precipitation levels reach as high as 200-percent of normal in the Southeast and well above normal throughout the state, according to data just released by NASS.

"It’s nice to start off a year with a good supply of water,” said Steve Howser, Aberdeen-Springfield Canal Company General Manager. “It reduces a lot of stress.”

For the first time in years canal managers aren't worried about reservoir storage after all the snow Southern Idaho received throughout the winter.

"We really had an incredible winter not only did we get 150-percent snow pack in all the drainages above American Falls, but we also had quite a bit of snowfall on the Snake River Plain that we don't usually see," said Howser.

Many areas, particularly in the North and Southeast regions, were still covered in snow at the end of March. Elsewhere, in areas where the snow had melted or was receding, conditions were soggy and growers were on the lookout for snow mold in winter wheat and were assessing winterkill in fields that were dry enough.

Irrigation water was expected to be in full supply for the season, with 58-percent adequate topsoil moisture and 42-percent surplus, as well as 68-percent adequate subsoil moisture and 32-percent surplus.

Pasture and range conditions were reported to be 9-percent poor, 9-percent fair, 50-percent good, and 32-percent excellent.

In the south-central region, rivers were high with some flooding occurring the first week of April. Despite the very wet conditions, producers there and in the south east completed some fieldwork beginning in late March, planting spring cereals, beets and potatoes.

South central pasture and range grasses greened and grew nicely, while calving progressed at a steady pace.

Bingham and Bannock counties began spring fertilization operations; Jefferson County reported concern about vole damage.
Although some southeast winter wheat did not survive the winter, the crop condition statewide was just 1-percent poor, 32-percent fair, 59-percent good and 8-percent excellent.

Spring wheat is about 8-percent planted, a little ahead of last year’s 2-percent but lagging the 17-percent five-year average. Barley is 17-percent planted, dead even with the five-year average. Oats stand at 8-percent and, like wheat, its ahead of last year but behind the five-year average. 

Potatoes are just getting started at 3-percent planted. Sugarbeets are 12-percent, same as the five-year average. And onions are at 9-percent, quite a bit behind last year, when they were 33-percent planted.

The far north just started to get some warmer, drier weather, which began to melt remaining snow and dry the fields.

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