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All 64 Colorado counties have USDA disaster designations headed into harvest

So far, 2022 has been the 33rd driest year on state record.

All 64 of Colorado’s counties have USDA disaster designations. So far, 2022 has been the 33rd driest year on state record.

D4 exceptional drought remained steady in Sedgwick and Phillips counties in northeastern Colorado for the third straight week. This D4 area still covers less than 1% of the state. Portions of this region did receive 2 inches of rain the week ending Sept. 25.

Parts of surrounding counties are suffering from D3 extreme drought and account for more than 3% of the state. Total D3 acreage shrank slightly from the week prior.

Several pockets of D2 severe drought are scattered throughout Colorado, with the largest in the northwest and northeast regions. In total, almost 12% of the state is suffering from severe drought.

D1 moderate drought continues to cover about 30% of Colorado. Rangeland growth is stunted and very little hay is available in this area, reports the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Abnormally dry conditions span the largest portion of Colorado, covering more than 38%.

A north south strip of counties the central part of the state is free of moisture stress. This area covers over 15% of the state.

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

The latest Crop Progress Report indicated a general improvement in topsoil moisture across the state. Current ratings are 25% very short, 42% short, 32% adequate, and 1% surplus. 

However, Colorado’s subsoil moisture ratings generally got worse. Current ratings are 41% very short, 33% short, 26% adequate, and 0% surplus.

Colorado Corn Crop

Colorado dented corn surged 20% in the last week to 85%. Despite the significant progress, the states’ dented corn crop lags behind the five-year average of 91%. 

Corn maturity also jumped 20%, according to Monday’s Crop Progress Report. That, too, is behind the five-year average of 42% for this time of year. 

Only 1% of the state’s grain corn crop has been harvested, behind the five-year average of 8%. Corn harvested for silage is 82% complete, slightly ahead of the five-year average of 80%, and up 12% from the week prior.

Corn condition was most recently rated 22% very poor, 23% poor, 30% fair, 22% good, and 3% excellent.

Colorado livestock, alfalfa, and pasture

This summer’s drought has negatively impacted livestock and feed availability in the state of Colorado. Monday’s Crop Progress report indicated livestock in the state were rated 1% very poor, 3% poor, 18% fair, 42% good, and 36% excellent. This week sheep death loss was 90% average and 10% light. Cattle death loss was 84% average and 16% light.

At this time, third cutting alfalfa harvest continues at a pace equal to last year and the five-year average of 86%. Fourth cutting alfalfa is progressing well in the northeastern and southwestern portions of the state, tracking with the five-year average of 30%.

Stored feed supplies were rated 3% very short, 27% short, 62% adequate, and 8% surplus.

Pasture and range was rated 14% very poor, 35% poor, 25% fair, 22% good, and 4% excellent.

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Will you have enough on-farm storage for harvest?

I just want to see the responses
46% (24 votes)
37% (19 votes)
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Maybe, depending on yields
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