Depending on your location, spring weather is throwing some significant extremes, either providing ample opportunities to get seed into the ground, or as is the case across much of the Midwest, continuing to keep that door shut with wet and cool soil conditions.
According to the USDA-NASS Crop Progress and Condition report for the week of May 9th, Montana is the only state showing ahead of average progress on barley planted acres. This, across much of the state, is due to the continuing dry conditions along with recent above average temperatures. Despite seed in the ground, without much needed rain, the crop will likely struggle to get out of the gate. At the other extreme, much of the drought-stricken areas in North Dakota have been replenished with 80% of the top soil moisture at adequate or surplus levels leading to only 6% of the barley crop planted opposed to 55% on average typically in the ground this time of year.
Crop progress summaries:
Idaho: 72% of barley is planted with 42% emerged, both down slightly from last year and the 5-year average. Other field crops are experiencing similar progress. A cool and wet spring persists and has slowed planting, but has brought much needed precipitation to the state that is now reporting topsoil moisture as 90% adequate or surplus with just 29% of the subsoil as short or very short.
Montana: Planted acres of barley are slightly ahead the previous year (55%) and 5-year average (51%) at 66%, up 16% from last week that generally brought minimal precipitation and above average temperatures. 25% percent of the crop has now emerged. Most other field crops are reporting progress close to average for this time of year. Some emerged spring crops are reporting stress. Only 23% of topsoil and 14% of subsoil moisture is reported as adequate.
North Dakota: Only 6% of barley has been planted, well behind 60% last year and the average of 33% for this time of year. All field crops are reporting similar lagging progress after a week logging just 2.3 days suitable for field work. Topsoil is now 80% adequate or at surplus moisture levels with subsoil still measuring 29% short or very short on moisture.
Washington: 75% of the barley crop is in the ground (close to average) with 30% emerged (slightly below average). Other field crops are generally running at or slightly below average as cool and wet conditions persist through the state. Topsoil moisture is running at 82% adequate or surplus with only 33% of subsoil at short or very short.
Oregon: 89% of the barley crop is planted with 57% emerged; slight increases on both accounts from last week but cool and wet conditions are slowing crop development. 69% of winter barley is showing to be in good or excellent condition this spring. Topsoil moisture is running at 75% adequate or surplus with 39% of subsoil at short or very short.
Minnesota: Only 5% of barley has been planted, an increase from 1% last week, but down from 85% at this time last year, and lower than the 5-year average of 43% for the first week of May. All field crops in the state are recording similar levels, indicating consistent planting conditions throughout the state. Recent rain has replenished topsoil moisture that is faring much better than last year and is now reporting 95% at adequate or surplus levels. Furthermore, only 15% of subsoil moisture is now being recorded at very short or short.
Crop progress reports are conducted weekly through the planting and growing season in each respective state. You can access these full reports and subscribe to report delivery here: https://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/index.php.