Following are highlights from state condition and weather reports:
Kansas: Kansas producers saw another week of abnormally warm temperatures with rain isolated to the Northeast and East Central Districts. Temperatures averaged 14 to 21 degrees above normal across the State as highs were mostly in the 80’s, with some stations reporting record setting highs and only two stations had lows at or below freezing. Only 4 of the 53 stations reported rain totals of a half-inch or more with Baileyville leading the State at 1.25 inches, followed by Lawrence at 0.68 of an inch, while 36 stations reported no precipitation at all. Kansas farmers averaged 5.0 days suitable for fieldwork last week with the western districts averaging more than six days. Because of the warm temperatures and dry conditions last week, much of the surplus topsoil moisture shifted to adequate. Topsoil moisture was rated as 6 percent very short, 13 percent short, 73 percent adequate, and 8 percent. Subsoil moisture supplies were rated as 8 percent very short, 22 percent short, 67 percent adequate, and 3 percent surplus.
Record high March temperatures have caused the wheat crop to be 3 weeks ahead of last year and the average. The crop is now 61 percent jointed, compared to only 19 percent last year and the 5 year average of 21 percent. In the South Central District 87 percent of the crop has jointed and the Central District is 86 percent jointed. This year’s crop is one of the most advanced in recent history. The only years when wheat jointed at the beginning of April was close to this year were 2007 with 46 percent, 2000 with 44 percent, and 1995 with 43 percent. The condition of the wheat crop has slightly improved from the previous week to 2 percent very poor, 6 percent poor, 32 percent fair, 49 percent good, and 11 percent excellent. Wind damage to Kansas wheat slightly decreased to 10 percent light, 3 percent moderate, and 1 percent severe. Insect damage increased to 10 percent light, 3 percent moderate, and 1 percent severe, while disease damage increased to 11 percent light and 1 percent moderate.
Texas: Most of the state received rainfall last week. Weekly totals in areas of South Texas reached two inches or more while other areas received scattered showers. Parts of the High Plains and the Trans-Pecos experienced unseasonably warm and dry weather. Rainfall and warm temperatures helped small grains to progress well last week. Wheat and oats were maturing ahead of schedule in parts of the state. In the High Plains, some wheat was showing signs of stress and remained in need of additional moisture. Many producers were irrigating and applying herbicides to wheat. Scouting and spraying for insects continued. Some wheat producers also reported problems with rust.
Oklahoma: March ended this past week as the warmest March on record with an average temperature of 59.4 degrees, over nine degrees above normal, according to the Oklahoma Climatological Survey. Tulsa and Oklahoma City also broke records for the month of March, with average temperatures of 61.5 and 60.8 degrees, respectively. April began even warmer with a high of 98 degrees recorded at Altus on Sunday. McAlester set two new daily high records for their location this week at 84 degrees Monday and 85 degrees on Sunday the first. High temperatures for the week averaged in the low 80’s across the state. Above normal temperatures coupled with the heavy rain from the week prior meant rapid development for crops and pasture in Oklahoma. Pasture and range conditions continued to improve, providing relief to livestock producers. Very little rain fell over the past week with a state average of only six hundredths of an inch. The highest rainfall total was 1.78 inches in Arnett from an isolated storm in northwestern Oklahoma. The majority of Mesonet stations recorded no rainfall. The warm and dry weather allowed for substantial progress in corn planting. Unfortunately the warm conditions were also good for weeds and insects, with minor issues reported. Both topsoil and subsoil moisture conditions were rated mostly adequate. There were 5.4 days suitable for field work. Wheat and canola conditions continued to improve and progress was ahead of normal for most stages. All small grains and canola were rated mostly good, with 22 percent of wheat and 19 percent of canola rated excellent. Wheat jointing reached 85 percent complete by Sunday, 20 points ahead of the five-year average.
Nebraska: For the week ending April 1, 2012, high winds coupled with temperatures well above normal and little precipitation caused soil moisture levels to be below previous year and 5 year averages, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Nebraska Field Office. Soil temperatures have climbed into the mid 50’s to low 60’s compared to upper 30’s to mid 40’s last year. Spring calving was near three-fourths complete with favorable conditions having aided in calf losses to be well below average. Temperatures averaged 18 degrees above normal across the state. Highs reached the low 90’s in the east and lows dipped to just below freezing in the Panhandle. Limited or no precipitation was recorded across most of the state. However, isolated pockets in South Central and extreme Southeast Nebraska received over one inch. Wheat conditions rated 0 percent very poor, 4 poor, 33 fair, 56 good, and 7 excellent, well above last year’s 36 percent good to excellent.