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NIDIS Intermountain West
Drought Early Warning System
April 24, 2018

Condition Monitoring Reports

Condition Monitoring Reports are submitted to CoCoRaHS by volunteers who are observing conditions in the region near where they take their observations. View Current Condition Monitoring Map.

Impacts Reports

CSU Extension

I drove from Akron down to Garden City, KS today.  As I was driving I was observing conditions on the drive down 59, to 287 to 50.  North of I-70 wheat conditions are about what I would expect with the late plantings.  They are green but not growing fast as well.  We broke dormancy about 2 to 3 weeks ago.  South of I-70 you can tell that they are drier as you go farther south.  One thing I did notice is the inconsistency of stands in wheat.  You drive by 2 or 3 horrible looking fields stand wise and then you see some that look good but could use a rain.  Watching them I somewhat came to the conclusion that most of the fields with poor stands were probably more due to farming practices and several looked as if they were planted back to wheat in continuous cropping practices.  Continuous cropping wheat is generally much more risky than after fallow.
Once thing I did notice is the grass along the highway which is predominantly brome was under stress and wasn’t really a “good” color.  This shows that they haven’t really had a good rain in the last couple of months.  Traveling along hwy 50, even irrigated wheat looked poor which is confusing as they should have been irrigating that already with the dry conditions.  Once into Kansas, the wheat crop deteriorated as you went east.  Very poor stands were common and where you did see good stands you did see the discoloration of dry conditions.  One interesting sight was seeing a dryland wheat field that was much further along than most with really good stands and right across the road was a very poor field.  Even though they had a good stand, it was showing drought stress.  Much of the wheat is in a condition that if they don’t get a substantial rain in the next couple of weeks you probably can write it off for much if any yield potential.  The area of Kansas that I drove is in D2 but looks substantially worse than most of the wheat in Colorado in the D2 area.  Even though most of the wheat in Colorado appears to have been planted late, the root system isn’t highly developed and is struggling to grow fast enough to access moisture.
Pastures are dry but most of them are typically warm season grasses in that region and don’t break dormancy until May anyway.
Alfalfa has no flexibility at its crowns. Fields are being taken out. Conditions are similar to 2002.
Southwest Colorado
Allocations have been reduced by 20%. We're gearing up for wildfires.
Weld County
It's on the dry side, but not terrible. Wheat is okay. People have sprinklers on right now.
Otero County FSA
Little showers have been lifting our spirits, but the outlooks is still bad for dry land. Irrigated acreage and planting is being curtailed.
Kiowa County FSA
Wheat is struggling, but has perked up a bit. The next couple weeks will make or break the crop. It's not as bad as 2012. We are looking at status quo, D2.
Emery County FSA, UT
Soil moisture is awful. Winds have been strong, and we have been in the rain shadow for precipitation events.
Elbert County FSA
Soils are dry down to 4 or 5 feet deep. It has been windy and recent rains haven't done anything productive.
Lincoln County FSA
We have had a little rain to the south and snow to the north with lots of blowing wind and dirt.