Oklahoma City - Multiple rain and snow events throughout February, including the storm front that moved across the state Monday and Tuesday, has provided improvements to soil moisture conditions, according to today’s Oklahoma Crop Weather report issued by the USDA-NASS Oklahoma Field Office.
A storm came through Feb. 12, with the heaviest rainfall totals up to an inch in southern Oklahoma. Snow was also falling in the north and the west but most melted quickly, though totals as high as 5 inches in the Panhandle and far western Oklahoma were observed. February 20-21 two separate snowfall events accumulated as much as 13.5 inches in Alva, with widespread snowfall across the state at varying amounts. The Panhandle observed snow totals up to 12 inches in localized areas on the 21st. Another system moved into the state beginning Sunday night the 24, with totals still to be seen. Precipitation totals for the month to date averaged 2.13 inches for the state. These totals only include rain and melted snow through February 24.
McAlester recorded 3.54 inches for the period, while Kenton in the Panhandle recorded only 0.26 of an inch. Although the precipitation for the last 30 days has been above normal, statewide precipitation for the period since September 1st was only 63 percent of normal, ranging from 55 percent of normal in the North Central district to 77 percent of normal in the Panhandle. Some improvements to crop conditions were reported, with wheat, canola and rye moving from mostly poor to very poor in January to mostly fair to poor in February. This allowed for a small increase in the amount of the crop being grazed, though grazing was reported to be significantly less than normal. Pasture condition ratings have not yet shown significant improvements, though some areas have reported new growth in winter forage from the last few snow and rain events. Overall some recharge of ponds and lakes has occurred, but water levels are still very low. Topsoil moisture conditions improved greatly from January, with 43 percent rated adequate and even two percent rated surplus. Subsoil moisture conditions were still rated mostly very short, with nine percent rated adequate.
Small Grains: Conditions of small grains and canola improved over the past month due to the available moisture. Wheat, canola and rye conditions were rated mostly fair to poor while oats were still rated mostly poor to very poor. Only 26 percent of the wheat crop was being grazed, 19 points below 2012 and 10 points below the five-year average. Thirty-seven percent of rye was reported as grazed, 27 points less than normal. Fourteen percent of oats were being grazed, compared to 42 percent of oats grazed last year, and a five-year average of 19 percent.
Pasture and Range: Pasture and range conditions continued to be rated poor to very poor for the month of February. The impacts of recent precipitation remain to be seen.
Livestock: Producers continued to provide hay and supplementary feed to herds, due to the limited availability of winter forage. Pond levels have improved for some, but overall the availability of water is still a major concern for livestock producers. Livestock conditions continued to be rated mostly in the good to fair range.
The entire Oklahoma report can be view online at: www.nass.usda.gov/ok under “Recent Reports.” The national database, Quick Stats, and all USDA-NASS reports are available on the agency’s web site at www.nass.usda.gov. For more information on NASS surveys and reports, call the USDA-NASS Oklahoma Field Office at 800-525-9226.