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Montana news about the environment, natural resources, wildlife, climate change and more.

New data shows winter wheat planting and emergence are lower then last year


New data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows winter wheat planting and emergence are lower throughout Montana then there were this time last year.

As of Sunday, 78% of winter wheat has been planted, compared to 92% in 2022. Winter wheat has emerged in over 60% of croplands, down from 75% last year.

As the weather turns and winter approaches, Montana farmlands have slightly better soil moisture than they did a year ago but drought conditions persist for over 60% of croplands.

The majority of topsoil moisture is classified as depleted or very depleted. The remainder of agricultural land has topsoil with adequate moisture content. On average, December, January and February are the driest months in the state.

The El Niño winter forecasts project warmer and drier conditions for much of Montana as well.

Ellis Juhlin is MTPR's Rocky Mountain Front reporter. Ellis previously worked as a science reporter at Utah Public Radio and a reporter at Yellowstone Public Radio. She has a Master's Degree in Ecology from Utah State University. She's an average birder and wants you to keep your cat indoors. She has two dogs, one of which is afraid of birds.
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