Condition See-Saw: How both flooding and drought are impacting planting preparations nationwide

Conversations over possible prevent plant are ramping up across the Northern Plains.

That is due to the increase in flooding predicted in USDA‘s spring outlook and more snowfall that is predicted for the weekend. Prevent plant is often a part of a producer’s crop insurance policy and provides coverage when fields are unable to be planted on time.

A South Dakota farmer says it is too early to talk about this now, but if the region is experiencing the same weather conditions three weeks from now, then it will happen for some farmers.

Taking a look at how the Plains region is faring in terms of drought conditions, the latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows little to no improvement for the area, with farmers across the region experiencing abnormal to exceptional drought conditions as they prepare for planting. Drought wise, the West is making incredible headway, but we know producers there are facing devastating flooding at this time. Dry conditions expanded this week for Florida citrus producers in response to quickly increasing fire danger.

The majority of Oklahoma’s pastures are facing extreme levels of drought.

Moisture over the next few weeks will be crucial for feeding this summer. An Extension Specialist with Oklahoma State University says proper range management is critical now regardless of moisture levels.

Mark Johnson says in order to have warm, green pastures this spring, apply herbicides for weed control early. Delay grazing until after the pasture has had time to recover from extreme drought. Johnson recommends waiting until grasses are four to eight inches tall. Also, apply fertilizer early and split applications, especially with Bermuda grass.

Those pastures in the Southern Plains could be in for another hit this week as high winds and blowing dust are in the forecast yet again. USDA Meteorologist, Brad Rippey, says wildfires could even be on the docket.

“We’ve already got a drought stricken environment and the potential with the high winds, low humidity levels and some cured vegetation that could lead to an enhanced wildfire threat for multiple days through this week. That’s likely to peak toward the second-half of the week as we get the low pressure system moving due north of areas like West Texas, Northeastern New Mexico, Western Oklahoma, Southeastern Colorado and Southwestern Kansas. All expected to see an elevated to possibly a critical wildfire danger later this week.”

Rippey says the blowing dust and overall dryness will continue to take a toll on wheat crops.

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