After a dry spring (or extended winter if you want to call it that), how is the state looking following the recent heavy rainfall? Here’s an interesting report from The Montana Farm Bureau Federation:
Farm Bureau board members comment on rain, grass and hay
Most of Montana has received its fair share of rain during late May and even into early June. Drive around the state and the grass is green and ag folks are happy. Most Montana Farm Bureau members are looking forward to a good summer with sufficient grazing and haying.
“We have beautiful grass right now,” says MFBF District 5 Director Mack Cole, a Forsyth rancher. “We got about six inches at our ranch and we now have water in the reservoirs. It has really changed the look of the country. My grandson is getting the haying equipment ready to go. I was traveling across the state recently and it was pretty green, although the Butte area was looking pretty dry.”
Jim Bowman, District 7 Director in the northeast part of the state, echoes Cole’s comments. The Hinsdale rancher says they’ve received up to five inches of rain and it’s looking green and good for both grazing and farming. “People are smiling,” he says.
In central Montana, MFBF District 3 Director Bill Jones who ranches near Harlowton, says his area of the state has been fortunate with moisture, as well. “We received about 3.7 inches in May and 82/100s so far in June. The pasture grass is looking good, as are the hay fields. It it’s been rather cool, so it’s not growing as quickly, but it’s coming. We had frost June 5, but it didn’t seem to hurt the alfalfa.”
Ken Johnson, a dry land wheat farmer from Conrad, is pleased with the moisture his farm has received. “We’ve had just under four inches of rain in the past few weeks. Most of the crop is coming along nicely, especially our spring wheat. Of course, with all the rain, the weeds are growing, too, so that means more spraying—as long as the wind doesn’t pick up,” Johnson said.
Southwestern Montana hasn’t received as much rain as the eastern part of the state, but the Dillon area is doing better than earlier in May, according to MFBF District 2 Director Harris Wheat. “It was getting pretty bleak and we got about two inches of rain and now it’s looking a whole lot better,” says Wheat. “Of course, we could use a couple more inches of moisture, but I think it’s going to be okay. I don’t know about grass in the mountain pastures, but the hay ground in the Beaverhead Valley looks good as do that pastures and foothills. They have certainly greened up.”
The bleak spot in the state remains the Bitterroot Valley. Farmer and former MFBF District 1 Director Hans McPherson says his area is “dang dry. North of Missoula received some good moisture, but the Bitterroot Valley has not. We irrigate, so our first crop of hay should be okay, and I guess we will see how it goes as the summer progresses,” McPherson says. “A lot of people right now are sprinkling their corn and grain just to get it to come up. The grass for cows is also getting pretty scary. We’re just very, very dry. Of course, some areas of the state got their year’s worth of moisture in one night, so that’s not so good either. We would certainly welcome the rain here.”