USDA: Bitter Cold Maintains Stress on Livestock

December 31, 2013 02:35 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, bitterly cold weather across the Dakotas contrasts with mild conditions farther south. "In portions of the Dakotas, snowy, breezy conditions and sub-zero temperatures are maintaining stress on livestock," USDA reports. Despite drought concerns on the central and southern High Plains, winter wheat remains mostly in good shape, USDA continues. "On Dec. 29, USDA rated well over half of the wheat in good to excellent condition in South Dakota (70%), Nebraska (65%), Oklahoma (63%), Montana (60%) and Kansas (58%)," USDA reports.

In the West, USDA says mild, dry weather prevails, except for a few rain and snow showers across the region’s northern tier. "With respect to the early-December cold snap in California’s San Joaquin Valley, USDA reports that "Navel oranges and mandarins sustained some freeze damage," and that "damaged fruit was sent to be juiced."

In the Corn Belt, USDA says cold weather is maintaining stress on livestock, particularly across the upper Midwest. "This morning’s temperatures again plunged below -20°F in parts of eastern North Dakota and northern Minnesota," USDA elaborates.

In the South, USDA says a little bit of light rain is falling across the Deep South, mainly in southern Texas. "In parts of the Southeast, soils remain too wet for fieldwork in the wake of recent downpours," USDA continues.

In its outlook, USDA says for the remainder of today, snow showers will quickly spread from northern portions of the Rockies and Plains into the Midwest. Snow will become more concentrated across the lower Great Lakes region on New Year’s Day and possibly heavy in the Northeast on Jan. 2. "Very cold, windy weather will trail the Midwestern and Northeastern snow, with late-week temperatures expected to plunge to near 0°F as far south as the middle Mississippi Valley," USDA reports. Harsh temperatures, sometimes below -20°F, will remain a concern with respect to upper Midwestern livestock, USDA details. Farther south, rainfall totals of 1 to 2 inches can be expected from the mouth of the Mississippi River to the coastal Carolinas, according to USDA. "In contrast, little or no rain will occur through week’s end from California to the Southern Plains," it continues.

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