“We’re still struggling to recover": pasture and rangeland conditions the lowest level this century

Pasture and rangeland conditions across the U.S. have reached the lowest level this century.

USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey shares some notable state ratings after a year of drought.

“We’re still struggling to recover in parts of the north despite wetter conditions of late. In fact, Montana leads the country in very poor to poor ratings for rangeland and pasture at 86 percent. That is closely followed by Texas coming in at 73 percent. Other states in the Great Plains and the Rockies with at least 50 percent very poor to poor pastures and rangelands include New Mexico, Nebraska, Wyoming, and South Dakota. So, even with some improvement in the north, we have a long way to go before we say we can have full recovery from last year’s drought,” Rippey explains.

He says that the Mississippi Valley is on the flip side with much greener conditions with Pennsylvania at 90 percent good to excellent.

Topsoil moisture condition ratings for the U.S. have made significant improvements: “Surface topsoil moisture increasing from 15 to 18 percent, and at the same time very short to short topsoil moisture decreasing sharply from 32 to 26 percent.”

However, nine out of ten states in the Great Rockies are still reporting topsoil moisture at least one-third very short to short.


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