May’s rains a boon for the winter wheat
Timely moisture can go a long ways in the arid climate of northeast Colorado.
Just ask local winter wheat farmers, who have an improved outlook on this summer’s harvest after experiencing a fairly-wet May.
A total of 2.63 inches of precipitation fell last month, according to the CoAgMET station at the Irrigation Research Foundation site. Most of that came over the month’s last 14 days, including 1.03 inches over the final six days. Rainfall amounts can vary greatly, as no doubt some parts in the area received more, and other’s possibly less.
However, most of the precipitation was more of the widespread variety, and for the most part dropped gently with little wind.
It was the most precipitation the region has experienced nearly all year, and came at a great time for a winter wheat crop that was starting to show stress from a lack of moisture.
“I think we have a real good chance at a decent wheat crop,” local agronomist Merlin VanDeraa said. He noted that a hard freeze in early May could result in some damage revealing itself in coming weeks when the heads start to fill, “but I’m pretty optimistic. The rains came at the right time.”
Local agronomist Davin Doyle said he has not seen any indication of possible freeze damage.
“It’s definitely been a huge blessing for the wheat,” he said of the precipitation.
Doyle noted, however, that May’s rains were not enough.
“We still could use more,” he said. “We’re not quite to the finish line yet.”
The moisture also was beneficial for a good start to the dryland corn that was planted early enough. Some fields have been a little later getting planted, and might not get the full benefit of last month’s precipitation.
Besides more rain, all planted crops could use a little more heat. Doyle noted that everything is a good 10 days behind schedule. It appears winter wheat harvest might not begin until the middle of July at the current rate.
Summer temperatures did arrive this week with highs in the 80s, and expected to stay there through Saturday.
However, as of earlier this week the extended forecast called for highs dropping into the 60s and 70s from Sunday through late next week.