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Winter storm a mixed bag for ag

The major winter storm shaping up in the Southern Plains, expected to bring as much as foot of snow in some areas and signficant rainfall in others, will offer some benefits to crops in the region, forecasters say. On the other hand the storm likely will challenge livestock producers.

"The heavy, wet snow will bring a period of very stessful conditions for livestock in the major cattle feedlot areas from southwestern Kansas southward into the Oklahoma panhandle and the Texas panhandle," said Freese-Notis Weather in its Agriculture.com report on Monday. "Some additional snow could affect these areas later in the week, but amounts will be much lighter."

"This system will bring more beneficial moisture to a large part of the hard-red winter wheat areas with melted amounts of 0.50-2.00 inches," Freese-Notis said. "This will continue a recent wetter trend in parts of this region," the weather service said.

"The snow will help increase winterkill protection, and will improve soil moisture for wheat once it melts," said Don Keeney, MDA EarthSat meteorologist.

"The storm system should also once again spread shower activity across the southern and eastern Midwest and northern Delta, where wetness and disease threats will remain an issue," Keeney said. "Much more precipitation will still be needed in the southwestern Plains, however, to significantly reduce the long-term drought conditions there."

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