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10% of corn is very poor in drought plagued Colorado

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday, Colorado is one of four top corn growing states suffering from D4 drought this growing season.

Record breaking temperatures and a stark cool down have challenged crops and livestock in the state this month. Temperatures above 105° F. have been reported in the eastern half of the region over the last two weeks. Much of the state has not seen measurable rain this month.

Map of Colorado precipitation
Photo credit: Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Colorado Drought Conditions

Total drought area in Colorado decreased slightly last week. However, D4 exceptional drought in Sedgwick and Phillips counties didn’t change and still covers 0.59% of the state. D3 extreme drought area shrank slightly but persists across more than 3% of Colorado. D2 severe drought now covers more than 13% of the state. Close to 30% of the state is suffering from D1 moderate drought. Abnormally dry conditions are present across more than 37% of the state. Over 15% of the state is free of moisture stress.
 
Monday’s USDA Crop Progress Report rated topsoil moisture condition 20% very short, 51% short, 29% adequate, and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 26% very short, 40% short, 34% adequate, and 0% surplus.

Map of Colorado drought condition
Photo credit: U.S. Drought Monitor

Corn in Colorado

Corn harvest will be later than normal for much of Colorado. Monday’s USDA Crop Progress Report indicated 85% of the state’s corn crop has reached dough stage, significantly trailing the 94% five-year average. Only 46% of Colorado’s corn is dented, lagging behind the 67% five-year average. Just 1% of the state’s corn crop is mature, well behind the 13% average. Silage harvest is 40% complete.
 
Corn condition was most recently rated 10% very poor, 19% poor, 40% fair, 28% good, and 3% excellent.

Sorghum in Colorado

In contrast, some Colorado sorghum is ahead of the five-year average pace. USDA says 100% of the state’s crop is headed, 3% ahead of the 97% five-year average. The latest report says 81% of Colorado sorghum is coloring, well beyond the five-year average of 68%. However at just 10%, mature sorghum lags behind the five-year average pace of 16%. Sorghum harvest has not started yet.

Sorghum condition in Colorado was most recently rated 0% very poor, 11% poor, 48% fair, 41% good, and 0% excellent.

Winter Wheat in Colorado

Winter wheat planting is underway in Colorado. Farmers in the state are 2% ahead of the five-year average pace with 12% of the crop in the ground.

Alfalfa, pasture, and range in Colorado

“In the San Luis Valley, previous rains helped the current cutting of alfalfa, but recent dry conditions are starting to affect the crop,” said the Colorado field office for the National Agriculture Statistics Service on Monday.

Across the state, 70% of third cutting alfalfa has been harvested and 15% of fourth cutting hay. Current alfalfa conditions were rated 5% very poor, 11% poor, 20% fair, 56% good, 8% excellent.

Monday’s Crop Progress Report rated Colorado pasture and range 15% very poor, 23% poor, 20% fair, 32% good, and 10% excellent.
 

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