Barley crop progress catching up after a slow start
  • 05/09/2023

Barley crop progress catching up after a slow start

Much of the barley growing regions experienced a slow start to planting due to moisture. This was welcomed in the Pacific Northwest region of Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, because coupled with a decent snowpack, drought conditions have lessened. The Upper Midwest states of North Dakota and Minnesota once again find themselves in a delayed plant situation, however, conditions have improved of late and barley is going in the ground, typically with ample moisture. Montana persists as the state with the greatest lingering drought concerns with 71% of the state still  experiencing dry or drought conditions. 

The U.S. Drought Monitor is now showing just 6% of the barley region in drought, improving from 66% the same time last year. This type of broad landscape moisture availability has not been realized in barley regions for over two years.  

Access individual state crop progress and condition reports here:  

Crop progress summaries:

Northwest Region (Idaho-Washington-Oregon): After a cool and wet spring, high daytime temps have been realized, providing good conditions for crops. Planting is behind the five-year average in Idaho, and slightly behind in Oregon, although Washington is right on track. Barley emergence is somewhat delayed in all three states. Generally, soil moisture conditions are favorable, although deficits in subsoil moisture still exist. 

Montana: Planting progress in Montana is only slightly behind the five-year average, with no data yet available on emergence. The state is experiencing moderate temperatures allowing for a slower snow melt in the mountains. The story here will continue to be drought conditions and whether there is ample moisture for a productive and high quality barley crop, although conditions have improved substantially from last year. 

Colorado: Recent moisture events have improved drought conditions throughout the state, which is now reporting only 30% of the state in some level of drought; a considerable improvement from 91% in drought the same time last year. Eighty percent of the crop is planted with 30% emergence, both metrics behind the five-year average. 

Wyoming: Drought conditions persist with less than half the state considered drought free. Above average temperatures were realized with planting progress just short of the five-year average, but with emergence at only 38%, significantly behind the five-year average of 63%.

North Dakota: Only 6% of barley has been planted, similar to last year, but behind the five-year average of 23%. Emergence not yet rated. Topsoil and subsoil moistures are rated adequate at 71% and 65%, respectively, with both rating just 4% very short. 

Minnesota: Warmer temps and easing precipitation allowed for ample field work this past week, but just 9% of the barley crop is reported planted, significantly behind the five-year average of 30%, but slightly up from last year when similar cool, wet spring conditions occurred. Top and subsoil moistures are both rated at 72% adequate. 

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: