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Imperial Updates...Reported by Tom Gaschler, Master Agronomist 

May 25, 2013...  Soil temperatures have rebounded this week after a cool down from last weekends rain storms.  The soil temperatures this morning was 52 degrees in Douglas and Cheyenne, Wyoming, 57 degrees in Kimball, Nebraska, 61 degrees in Imperial, Nebraska, and 64 degrees in McCook, Nebraska.  Scattered thunderstorms have brought variable amounts of precipitation to the FVC trade area.  Kimball remains dry with 0.02 inches this week for a year to date total of 1.39 inches.  Imperial received 2.10 inches for a year to date total of 5.87 inches.  This is 80% of the 117 year average for Imperial.  On average Imperial receives 7.30 inches of precipitation January 1- May 31.  McCook received 0.29 inches for a year to date total of 2.85 inches. 

Wheat is at the flag leaf to boot stage in both dryland and irrigated fields.  Hail last weekend bent stems and damaged heads south of Enders Reservoir with 28% of the stems being damaged in one field. 

Most farmers are completing corn planting.  Some of the largest corn seen this week was at the 3 leaf stage aalthough there are fields lareger than this.  Corn has accumulated 327.5 growin degree days from April 20 through May 21.  Last year at this time we were at 399 units.  Corn this year has already faced more temperatre extremes than corn did last year.  This year we have had 2 days with temperatures above 95 dgrees, and 11  nights with temperatures at 32 degrees or less.  Last year there were no days above 95 degrees and no nights below 34 degrees between April 20 and May 21. 

Soybean planting is underway.  Dry bean planting should start next week. 

May 18, 2013...  Soil temperatures have warmed up with the high day time and night time temperatures.  Soil temperatures this morning in Douglas WY, was 55 degrees, 51 in Cheyenne, WY, 56 in Kimball, NE, and 65 in Imperial and McCook, NE.  Some precipitation has fallen this past week with fast moving cool fronts.  Kimball, NE received 0.15 inches for a year to date total of 1.37 inches.  Imperial received 0.22 inches for a year to date total of 3.77 inches.  McCook received 0.04 inches for a year to date total of 2.56 inches. 

The wheat crop is at joint to flag leaf stage.  Low precipitation has not provided moist conditions for tan spot and stripe rust to develop.  Both diseases can be found. 

Corn planting is 75 % completed.  The earliest planted corn is at the second leaf stage.  Corn has accumulated 231.5 grwoing degree day units from April 20 through May 14.  Last year we were at 291 units.  During the same time period 2012 had zero days above 95 degrees and zero nights below 32 degrees.  This year we have already had 2 days above 95 degrees and 11 nights below 32 degrees.  

Soybean planting is underway in the area.   

May 11, 2013...  Soil temperatures have been up and down this past week.  Soil temperature this morning was 47 in Douglas, WY, 42 in Cheyenne, WY, 45 in Kimball, NE, 49 in Imperial, NE, and 52 in McCook, NE.  According to the NeRAIN website, Kimball, NE received 0.13 inches of precipitation in the last 10 days for a year to date total of 1.22 inches.  Imperial received 0.84 inches for a year to date total of 3.55 inches.  McCook, NE received 0.28 inches for a year to date total of 2.52 inches. 

Between April 20 and May 7 corn has accumulated 135.5 growing degree day units.  Last year we had 219 units.  Corn planted on April 27 north of Imperial has emerged.  Corn planting is 50- 60 % completed in the area. 

Wheat is at the joint stage.  We have found low levels of tan spot and stripe rust in the area.  Some fields have white speckles on the upper leaves possible caused by frost in the last 7 days. 

Most of the reservoirs in the area are not releasing water with the exception of Swanson Reservoir at Trenton, NE.  Swanson is still releasing 200 cubic feet per second or 1498 gallons per second.  Harlan county Reservoir releases have ended with an agreement between the states of Kansas and Nebraska.  Currently Harlan County Reservoir is at 206,218 acre feet in storage

May 2, 2013...  Soil temperatures were as high as 54 degrees on Monday but are down 5- 14 degrees in the FVC trade area.  Douglas, WY had a soil temperature of 39 degrees, Cheyenne , WY had 38 degrees, Kimball, NE had 39 degrees, Imperial had 40 degrees, and McCook had 43 degrees.  A cold front on Tuesday night brought rain, thunder and snow to the area.  According to the NeRAIN website, Kimball received 0.10 inches of precipitation for a yearly total of 1.09 inches. Imperial received 0.26 inches for a yearly total of 2.71 inches.  McCook received 0.09 inches for a yearly total of 2.24 inches.  On average Imperial should have 4.27 inches of precipitation by April 30.  We are at 63.5 % of normal. 

Wheat is currently at tiller to joint stage.  There are low levels of tan spot in some fields.  Corn planting is 5- 10 % completed. 

Last year on April 30, wheat was at the flag leaf stage with symptoms of tan spot and stripe rust.  Corn planting was 30- 40 % completed.  Corn planted on April 18, 2012 was emerging.  
April 25, 2013...  Soil temperatures have bounced around the past week.  The soil temperatures this morning was 32 degrees at Douglas, WY, 27 degrees at Cheyenne, WY, 36 degrees at Kimball, NE, and 39 degrees at Imperial, and McCook, NE.  Drought severity has decreased in the FVC trade area, the past 3 weeks as needed snow and rain have fallen.  While the area is still in a drought area with the most severe designation has decreased in size.  According to the NeRAIN website, Kimball received no precipitation with the yearly total of 0.99 inches, Imperial received 0.31 inches of precipitation bringing the yearly total to 2.45 inches, and McCook received 0.80 inches of precipitation bringing the total to 2.15 inches. 

Wheat has started to grow and greenup in the area.  Dryland wheat is still at the tiller stage while some of the irrigated wheat is at the joint stage.  Corn planting is underway in the Imperial area.   

Now is the time to apply Step 1 of FVC lawn fertilizer so that the pre-emerge herbicide is incorporated into the soil preventing weeds and crabgrass from germinating.  You will also want to hire a professional arborist to spray pine trees for needle blight which is a problem in the area.  You may want to ask about any insects.  Pine bark borer still has not been seen in the area.

The following is the river flows in the area. 
River and sit.                                                                              cubic feet/ sec.     gallons/ sec.
N Platte below Glendo Reservoir, WY.                                                       1.3                  9.72
Sybille Creek above Canal # 3 near Wheatland, WY.                                   7.8                58.34
Laramie near Ft. Laramie, WY.                                                               54                  403.92
N Platte at NE/ WY state line.                                                              151               1,129.48
S Platte at Roscoe, NE.                                                                       131                   979.88
N Fork Republican at NE/ CO state line.                                                 39                    291.72
Rock Creek at Parks, NE.                                                                     35                    261.8
S Fork Republican at Benkelman, NE.                                                     0                        0
Frenchman Creek at Culbertson, NE.                                                     56                    418.88
Republican at Orleans, NE.                                                                 217                 1,623.16
Republican at Hardy, NE.                                                                    196                 1,466.08
Missouri at Rulo, NE.                                                                     33,300              249,084
Mississippi at Vicksburg, MS.                                                    1,100,000            8,228,000

Reservoir levels in the area are listed below.  The Nebraska Department of Natural Resources have cancelled releases from the area reservoirs. 
Swanson Reservoir at Trenton, NE on the Republican River.                41,229 acre feet
Enders Reservoir at Enders, NE, on the Frenchman Creek.                 15,288 acre feet
Hugh Butler Reservoir on Red Willow Creek.                                        6,507 acre feet
Harry Strunk on Medicine Creek.                                                       23,802 acre feet
Harlan County Reservoir at Republican City on the Republican.         208,645 acre feet

April 18, 2013...  The soil temperature this morning was 30 degrees at Douglas, WY, 32 degrees at Cheyenne, WY, 34 degrees at Kimball, NE, 37 degrees at Imperial, NE, and 38 degrees at McCook, NE.  Precipitation in the past week has been light with snow and rain.  Kimball received 0.22 inches for a year to date total of 0.99 inches.  Imperial received 0.05 inches for a year to date total of 2.14 inches.  McCook received 0.01 inch for a year to date total of 1.35 inches.  According to the Drought Monitor at the University of Nebraska, the high plains region has had precipitation, but is still in some form of drought. 

Wheat is still in the tiller stage on dryland fields and tiller to joint stage on some of the irrigated fields.  Wheat can tolerate temperatures down to 12 degrees, at the tiller stage, with slight to moderate effect on yield.  At the joint stage, temperatures of 24 degrees or lower, will have moderate to severe effect on yield with damage to the growing point, stem, and tissue.  Most of the corn farmers will not start planting until next week. 

At this time last year frost damage was not a concern with warm the temperatures.  Corn planting was underway, and wheat was at the joint stage by April 10.  The University of Nebraska had the area in a seasonal drought which is not as severe as the current drought rating of exceptional to extreme drought.   

River flows are starting to increase on the plains due to runoff. 
River and site.                                                                                      cubic feet/sec.        gallons/ sec.
N Platte below Glendo Reservoir, WY.                                                                  1.0                     7.48
Sybille Creek above Canal # 3 near Wheatland, WY.                                              6.3                   47.12
Laramie River near Ft. Laramie, WY.                                                                   54.0                 403.92
N Platte at NE/ WY state line.                                                                           155.0              1,159.40
S Platte at Roscoe, NE.                                                                                    168.0              1,256.64
N Fork, Republican at NE/ CO state line.                                                              40.0                 299.2
Rock Creek at Parks, NE.                                                                                   34.0                 254.32
S Fork, Republican at Benkelman, NE.                                                                  0                       0
Frenchman Creek at Culbertson, NE.                                                                   56.0                 418.88
Republican at Orleans, NE.                                                                               300.0               2,244.0
Republican at Hardy, NE.                                                                                  113.0                 845.24
Missouri at Rulo, NE.                                                                                   55,000.0           411,400

Reservoirs in the Republican River Basin are listed below with current storage, inflows, and outflows.
Reservoir and location.           Acre feet in Reservoir   Inflow cubic feet/ sec.            Outflow cubic feet/ sec.
Swanson at Trenton, NE                         40,968                  104.09                                     75
Enders at Enders, NE.                            15,279                    21.65                                       4
Hugh Butler on Red Willow Creek.             6,917                    27.58                                     78
Harry Strunk on Medicine Creek.             23,921                    72.95                                    200
Harlan County at Republican City, NE    204,739                  638.56                                       0

April 11, 2013... 
Large storm fronts have brought bone chilling cold and precipitation to the High Planes area and to Patrons of FVC.  This morning Cheyenne and Douglas Wyoming had soil temperatures at 32 degrees at the 4 inch depth, Kimball, Nebraska was at 34 degrees, Imperial, Nebraska was at 35 degrees and McCook, Nebraska was at 37 degrees.  Kimball received 0.48 inches of precipitation bringing the yearly total to 0.77 inches, Imperial recorded 0.59 inches of moisture bringing the total to 2.09 inches, and McCook received 0.66 inches for a total of 1.34 inches of precipitation.  Forecasts are calling for more cold fronts bringing a better chance of precipitation to Wyoming and the Nebraska panhandle this weekend and into early next week.  Southwest Nebraska has a lower chance of rain and or snow this weekend into Monday. 

Wheat has not had temperatures for growth since Monday.  Cold temperatures the last 2 nights had some farmers and gardeners concerned about freezing conditions on potato seed.    

The Nebraska Department of Natural Resources ordered a water release on dams in the Republican River basin to comply with Republican River Compact of 1943.  Enders Reservoir has released 400 acre feet and the lake still has 15,253 acre feet in storage.  Swanson is still releasing water but has risen 2,000 acre feet to 41,083 acre feet this week.  Water is flowing into the lake above the 75 cubic feet per second being released.  Harlan County Reservoir has risen to 200,939 acre feet.  Inflows into the reservoir have been above 100 cubic feet per second since April 6.  No water is being released as of  today. 

Stream flows in the FVC trade area are listed below.
River and site.                                                                                             cubic feet/ sec.               gallons/ sec. 
N Platte below Glendo Reservoir, WY.                                                                    1.2                               8.98
Sybille Creek above Canal # 3, Wheatland, WY.                                                   3.5                             26.18
Laramie at Ft. Laramie, WY.                                                                                   54                               403.92
N Platte at NE/ WY state line.                                                                               151                            1,129.48
S Platte at Roscoe, NE.                                                                                         113                              845.24
N Fork Republican at NE/ CO state line.                                                              47                              351.56
Rock Creek at Parks, NE.                                                                                        30                             224.4
S Fork Republican at Benkelman, NE.                                                                   0                                  0
Republican River at Stratton, NE.                                                                            89                            665.72
Frenchman Creek at Culbertson, NE.                                                                   66                            493.68
Republican at Orleans, NE.                                                                                  280                          2,094.4
Republican at Hardy, NE.                                                                                        32                              239.36
Missouri at Rulo, NE.                                                                                        39,400                      294,712
Mississippi at Vicksburg, MS.                                                                        206,000                  1,540,880                               

April 5, 2013...  The soil temperature this morning was 42 degrees at Douglas, WY, 40 degrees at Cheyenne, WY, 43 degrees at Kimball, NE, 41 degrees at Imperial, NE, and 42 degrees at McCook, NE.  There was no precipitation in the FVC trade area the last 4 days.  Precipitation for Kimball, NE is still at 0.29 inches from January 1- April 5, 1.50 inches for Imperial, and 0.68 inches for McCook.  The National Weather Service is calling for 20 - 30 % chance of precipitation for all areas of the FVC trade area through Monday morning with chances increasing to 40 % in Wyoming and the Nebraska panhandle, 50 % In Imperial, and 70 % in McCook.  Precipitation will continue into Tuesday for all areas.   

River flows in the area are increasing on the Republican River due to augmentation, stream flow, and releases from reservoirs to fill Harlan County Reservoir.  Other rivers are flowing below average due to drought or low snow melt.  To get an acre inch of water you need 452.56 gallons per minute.  An acre inch of water has 27,154 gallons.
 River and site.                                                                                          cubic feet/ second          gallons/ second
N Platte River below Glendo Reservoir, WY.                                                               0.92                                2.17
Sybille Creek above Canal# 3, Wheatland WY.                                                          0.29                                2.17
Laramie River at Ft. Laramie, WY.                                                                              51                                  381.48                               N Platte River at NE/ WY state line.                                                                          134                               1,002.32
N Fork, Republican River at NE/ CO state line.                                                       45                                  336.6
Rock Creek at Parks, NE.                                                                                            33                                  246.84
S Fork, Republican River at Benkelman, NE.                                                            0                                       0
Frenchman Creek at Culbertson, NE.                                                                       57                                  426.36
Republican River at Orleans, NE.                                                                            157                               1,174.36
Republican River at Orleans, NE.                                                                              23                                  172.04
Missouri River at Rulo, NE.                                                                                  33,900                          253,572
Mississippi River at Vicksburg, NE.                                                                  925,000                      6,919,000

April 1, 2013...  The soil temperature this morning was 38 degrees at Douglas and Cheyenne, WY, 39 degrees at Kimball, NE, and 40 degrees at Imperial and McCook, NE.  Wheat is still at the tiller stage with plants growing more upright and increasing the number of tillers per plant.  Soil moisture in the top 8 inches is running 25- 35 % depleted.  Most fields still have 5 to 6 feet of soil moisture.  Wheat that was planted into last year's dryland corn stalks have only 3- 4 feet of soil moisture.  We are encouraging farmers to apply herbicides and 35 to 50 pounds of nitrogen which will allow them to harvest 40 to 50 bushels of wheat while keeping the fields clean.  We observed this in the drought of 2002 which was the driest year for Imperial in recorded history. 

The U. S, Drought Monitor based at the University of Nebraska still has the FVC trade area in an Extreme to Exceptional Drought.  Kimball, NE received 0.02 inches of precipitation since March 22, bringing the yearly total to 0.29 inches.  Imperial received 0.50 inches of precipitation bringing the yearly total to 1.50 inches. The average precipitation for Imperial is 1.99 inches of precipitation for the first 3 months of the year.  McCook received 0.09 inches of precipitation bringing the yearly total to 0.68 inches.  All of this data is from the NeRAIN website. 

River flows in the area are listed below.
 River and site.                                                                cubic feet/ sec.                              gallons/ sec.
N Platte below Glendo Reservoir, WY.                                      0.84                                                 6.28
Sybille Creek above canal # 3, Wheatland, WY.                    29                                                  216.92
Laramie near Ft. Laramie, WY.                                               107                                                 800.36
N Platte at NE/WY state line.                                                   129                                                 964.92
S Platte at Roscoe, NE.                                                              26                                                 194.48
N Fork Republican at NE/CO state line.                                 42                                                  314.62
Rock Cree at Parks, NE.                                                           34                                                  254.34
S Fork Republican at Benkelman, NE.                                     0                                                       0
Frenchman Creek at Culbertson, NE.                                    48                                                  359.04
Republican at Orleans, NE.                                                     74                                                   553.52
Republican at Hardy, NE.                                                         25                                                   187.00
Missouri at Rulo, NE.                                                       367,000                                          274,516.00

March 22, 2013...  The soil temperatures this morning was 33 degrees at Douglas WY, 35 degrees at Cheyenne WY and Kimball NE, 36 degrees at Imperial NE, and 37 degrees at McCook NE.  Snow and rain have brought low levels of precipitation to the FVC trade area in the last 2 weeks.  Kimball received 0.14 inches bringing the yearly total to 0.27 inches.  Imperial received 0.31 inches bringing the total to 1.00 inches.  McCook received 0.20 inches bringing the yearly total to 0.59 inches. 

Wheat growth has started and stands have survived the drought and cold temperatures.  Stands are 65 % of normal to normal.  Soil moisture in the top 10 inches is 25- 35 % depleted.  Fields that were fallow last summer have soil moisture down to 5 to 6 feet.  The number of tillers per plant are down from past years.

River flows are listed below. 
River and site.                                                      cubic feet/ sec.       gallons/ sec.             
N Platte below Glendo Res., WY.                               0.92                            6.88                       
Laramie at Ft. Laramie, WY.                                      45                             336.6                        
Sybille Creek above Canal # 3 at Wheatland WY.  0
N Platte at NE/WY state line.                                  129                               964.92
S Platte at Roscoe, NE.                                             28                               209.44
N Fork Republican at NE/CO state line.                40                               299.2
Rock Creek at Parks, NE.                                         29                              216.92
S Fork Republican at Benkelman, NE.                    0
Frenchman Creek at Culbertson, NE.                   47                               351.56
Republican at Orleans, NE.                                    71                               531.08
Republican at Hardy, NE.                                        33                               246.84
Missouri at Rulo, NE.                                         28,000                      209,440
Mississippi at Vicksburg, MS.                        981,000                   7,337,880 

March 8, 2013... 
Soil temperature this morning was 33 degrees at Douglas and Cheyenne, WY and Imperial, NE, 34 degrees at Kimball, NE, and 32 degrees at McCook, NE.   Forecasts for the FVC trade area are calling for rain and snow with up to 3-4 inches of snow for the area.  The sandhills of Nebraska are forecasted to get even more snow.  Winds will blow snow around making cattle feeding necessary and difficult and calving tough.  The 6- 10 day forecasts are calling for above normal temperatures with average precipitation.  Kimball, Imperial and McCook all received trace amounts of moisture but the yearly totals remain at 0.13 inches for Kimball, 0.69 inches for Imperial, and 0.39 inches for McCook. 

River flows for the FVC trade area as well as rivers of interest for the region are listed below. 
River and site.                                                                              cubic feet/ sec.              gallons/ sec.                acre feet/ sec.
Sybille Creek above Mule Creek near Wheatland, WY.                       11                                82.3
Sybille Cr. above Canal # 1 near Wheatland, WY.                                36                              269.3
N Platte below Glendo Reservoir, WY .                                                 ice
Laramie near Ft. Laramie, WY.                                                                 42                              314.2
N Platte at NE/ WY state line.                                                                  146                            1092.1                                0.003
S Platte at Roscoe, NE.                                                                              47                              351.6
N Fork Republican at NE/ Co state line.                                                  35                              261.8
Rock Cr. at Parks, NE.                                                                                26                             194.5
S Fork Republican near Benkelman, NE.                                                 0
Frenchman Cr. at Culbertson, NE.                                                          49                              366.5
Republican at Orleans, NE.                                                                     ice
Republican at Hardy, NE.                                                                          29                              216.9
Missouri at Rulo, NE.                                                                       225,000                   1,683,000                                   5.165
Mississippi at Vicksburg, NE.                                                        645,000                   4,824,600                                  14.806

February 28, 2013... Snow this past weekend has brought moisture to the area.  Kimball received 0.05 inches for a year to date total of 0.13 inches of precipitation.  Imperial received 0.04 inches of precipitation bringing the year to date total to 0.69 inches.  McCook received 0.01 inch for a year to date total of 0.39 inches of precipitation.  The 117 year average for Imperial January 1- February 28 is 0.86 inches. 

The soil temperature this morning was 20 degrees at Douglas, WY,  21 degrees at Cheyenne, WY, 25 degrees at Kimball, NE, 27 degrees at Imperial, NE, and 30 degrees at McCook, NE.

Most of the Republican River gauge stations are still covered with ice.  Rock Creek near Parks, NE is flowing at 24 cubic feet per second or 179.5 gallons per second.  The Frenchman Creek at Culbertson is flowing at 49 cubic feet per second or 366.52 gallons per second.  The Republican River at Hardy, NE is flowing at 37 cubic feet per second or 276.76 gallons per second. 

February 22, 2013...  Snow on Wednesday and Thursday, February 20 and 21 brought needed moisture to the FVC trade area.  Kimball remains dry with 0.02 inches of precipitation for a yearly total of 0.08 inches of moisture.  Imperial received 0.38 inches for a total this year of 0.65 inches.  McCook received 0.03 inches for a total this year of 0.38 inches.  Forecasts are calling for more snow on Sunday and Monday.  Another round of snow storms could occur on Friday March 1. 

Soil temperatures this morning in Douglas Wyoming was 22 degrees, Cheyenne, WY had soil temperatures at 23 degrees, Kimball, NE had soil temperatures at 24 degrees, Imperial, NE had soil temperatures at 26 degrees, and McCook, NE had soil temperatures at 29 degrees. 

February 11, 2013...  Soil temperatures in the Imperial area finally warmed up above 32 degrees last week.  In the past week temperatures have moved around the freezing mark.  Currently they are; 25 in Torrington, WY, 32 in Cheyenne, WY, 26 in Kimball, NE, 31 in Imperial, NE, and 34 in McCook, NE.  There has been no change in wheat conditions as reported 2 weeks ago. 

According to the NeRAIN website, Kimball has had 0.06 inches of precipitation up to February 9, bringing the yearly total to 0.06 inches..  There has been no report of precipitation for the last 2 days.  Sydney had no precipitation over the weekend when the FVC trade area received rain and snow along with lightning and thunder.   Imperial has received 0.22 inches of precipitation bringing the yearly total to 0.27 inches.  McCook had 0.34 inches of precipitation bringing the yearly total to 0.35 inches.

January 25, 2013...  Soil temperatures this morning was 34 degrees in Douglas, WY, 32 degrees in Cheyenne, WY and Kimball, NE, 28 degrees in Imperial, NE, and 25 degrees in McCook, NE. 

Most of the FVC trade area remains  dry with the National Drought Mitigation Center rating the area in an extreme drought,  Kimball has not received any precipitation in the last 25 days, Imperial has received 0.05 inches, McCook has received 0.01 inch.  On average Imperial receives 0.3866 inches of precipitation through the month of January.

I looked at wheat in several dryland wheat fields this afternoon.  The wheat is alive in the crown and survived the cold temperatures in the past month.  Stands are thin and we will have to wait until the wheat breaks dormancy to evaluate the stand.

January 8, 2013...  The soil temperature this morning was 22 degrees in Douglas, WY, 23 degrees in Cheyenne, WY, 22 degrees in Kimball, NE, 19 degrees in Imperial, NE, and 25 degrees in McCook, NE. 

The U. S. Drought Monitor at the University of Nebraska has all of the FVC trade area in Extreme to Exceptional drought. 

Small snow storms through Christmas and New Years Day has brought some snow to the area.  According to the NeRAIN website, Kimball received 5.79 inches of precipitation in 2012.  Imperial received 11.88 inches with the National Weather Service recording 12.51 inches of precipitation in 2012.  McCook received 8.18 inches of precipitation for 2012.  So far this year, Kimball received no precipitation, Imperial received 0.03 inches and McCook received 0.01 inches of precipitation. 

The forecast for January 13 through January 17 is calling for above normal precipitation and below normal temperatures in the FVC trade area.  Just as a guideline the average precipitation for Imperial for January is 0.3866 inches, and the average temperature is 27.3 degrees.

December 21, 2012...  A Merry Christmas from the Board of Directors and employees of Frenchman Valley Coop to you and your family.  Have a safe and Happy Holiday this season.

Snow has hit portions of the FVC trade area this past week dropping 4 inches last week, and an additional 3- 5 inches on Wednesday.  Kimball received 0.06 inches for a total this year of 5.79 inches.  Imperial received 0.69 inches bringing the yearly total to 11.85 inches.  McCook received 0.57 inches for a yearly total of 8.18 inches.  The average annual precipitation for Imperial is 19.98 inches. 

Soil temperatures have finally dropped below 32 inches this winter.  Soil temperature at Douglas and Cheyenne, Wyoming and Kimball, Nebraska was 24 degrees.  Imperial had 26 degrees and McCook had 29 degrees.  The wheat crop has finally gone dormant as well. 

December 14, 2012...  Soil temperatures this morning at the 4 inch depth was 32 degrees at Douglas, WY, Kimball and Imperial, NE.  It was 30 degrees at Cheyenne, WY, and 27 degrees at McCook, NE.  According to the NeRAIN website, Kimball and Imperial has not received any rain in the last 3 weeks while McCook has only received 0.01".  Kimball has had 5.73 inches from January 1- December 14, 2012.  Imperial has had 11.16 inches for the year, and McCook has had 7.61 inches. 

Imperial has 116 years of recorded precipitation.  The table below shows the totals and growing season total for the 4 driest years as well as the average.  Please note that none of these years occurred in the drought years of the 30's, 50's or 70's.  Only one occurred in the early 2000's.  In fact the driest year in the 30's had 14 inches of precipitation. 
Year          Total Precipitation          Precipitation April 1- September 30
2002               9.38"                                           6.08"
1968             10.43"                                           8.83"
1910             10.79"                                         10.32"  
2012             11.16"                                           7.52"
Median          19.98"                                        15.64"

We have kept track of Growing degree day units, using a base of 50 degrees, from April 20 through the first killing freeze in fall, from 1980 through 2012.  Growing degree day units were well above average April through July and in September this year.  August and October were below average.  We had 49 days of daytime highs above 94 degrees which was the highest in the last 32 years.  The monthly comparison is below.

Year   April   May   June   July   August   September   October   Total
2002   61.5  326    659     778     649.5    472.5            107       3071.5
2011   50     284.5 529.5  752     709       399.5            199.5    2916
2012 121     434    655     746     626.5    470.5              46       3099
Ave.   78.9   385.6 589.6  589.6  649.5    694.6              91.4    3039

November 23, 2012...  Dry conditions persist through the high plains area with above normal temperatures.  Farmers are concerned about moisture in the wheat fields.  This afternoon I probed a dryland field at Enders, NE and found that the top 6 inches were dry with moisture below the 6 inch depth all the way to 36 inches.  Irrigated wheat fields continue to be irrigated to keep the upper 10 inches moist. 

Soil temperatures this morning around the FVC trade area were 34 degrees at Douglas, WY, 33 at Cheyanne, WY, 34 at Kimball, NE, 37 at Imperial, NE, and 35 at McCook, NE. According to the NeRAIN website Kimball recived 0.04 inches of precipitation in the last 3 weeks bring the yearly total to 5.73 inches.  Imperial received no precipitation with a yearly total at 11.16 inches.  McCook received 0.04 inches of precipitation bringing the yearly total to 7.60 inches of precipitation.

November 3, 2012...  Corn harvest in the high plains area is coming to a close with 95% of irrigated corn harvested.  Yields for the most part were good for the irrigated, with most yields above 200 bushels.  Dryland that could be harvested was poor with the average around 20- 30 bushels per acre.  Currently fields that had a lot of ear drop from the October 18 windstorm are being raked and harvested to pickup the dropped ears.  Average yields from this operation is in the 40- 50 bushel range.  Cattlemen realize that cattle grazing corn stalks could founder on the amount of corn in the field and are looking at supplemanting the corn with baking soda. Volunteer corn will be a problem in next years fields.   There are few options of dealing with the volunteer.  Liberty Link corn has been discussed, but our experience in past years is that Liberty hebicide just burns the volunteer corn, and the plants recover in 2- 3 weeks.  There are no readily available varieties that have the imidazilone resistant genetics. The only other option is to plant dry beans or soybeans and use labled rates of Select Max, Fusilade, or Poast.

Soil temperatures this morning in the FVC trade area, were 40 degrees at Kimball, NE and Cheyenne, WY, 39 at Douglas, WY, 41 at Imperial and McCook NE.  Kimball received 0.01 inch of rain, for a year to date total of 5.69 inches.  On October 25, I reported an estimated 0.12 inch of precipitation.  The amount was reported late at 0.17 inch bringing Imperial"s total to 11.16 inch.  McCook precipitation total is still at 7.56 inches.     Forecasts for the next 5 days are calling for daytime highs in the 60 degree range and nighttime lows in the 30 degree range.  No precipitation is forecasted.  Typically November through February are the driest 4 months of the year. 

River flows in the area are below.
River and location.                                         cubic feet/ sec.         gallons/ sec.              acre inches/ sec.
N Platte at NE/ WY state line.                                         287                       2146.76                          0.0791
S Platte at Roscoe, NE.                                                      9.7                        72.56                        
N Fork Republican at NE/ CO state line.                          39                         291.72                          0.0107
Rock Crek at Parks, NE.                                                     5.8                        43.38
S Fork Republican at Benkelman, NE.                               0.00
Frenchman Creek at Culbertson, NE.                              12                            89.76
Republican at Orleans, NE.                                               0.00
Republican at Hardy, NE.                                                  1.54                        11.53
Missouri at Rulo, NE.                                               40,800                     305,184                             11.23
Mississippi at Vicksburg, MS.                                 224,000                  1,675,520                             61.70

October 25, 2012...  The FVC trade area has experienced a years worth of weather in the last 7 days.  Last Thursday, October 18, Imperial recorded 50 miles per hour sustained winds, with gust to 63 miles per hour.  On Saturday, October 21, the high was 81 degrees.  On Wednesday, October 24,  the high was in the 50 degree range with blowing snow by night.  Forecasts for the next 5 days are calling for highs in the 40 to 60 degree range and low temperatures between 26 and 33 degrees. 

The winds on Ocotber 18 caused corn stalks to lodge and broke off ears in standing corn fields.  Fortunately corn harvest is at 80- 90% complete.  Corn losses range from 15 to 105 bushels per acre, depending on variety, row direction, and slope.  Farmers with fields that had high yield losses are planning on raking the fields and picking up the windrows with combines to reduce the amount of volunteer corn in next years fields.  They are also planning on intensive grazing and if possible rotating with soybeans or dry beans, using grass herbicides to eliminate volunteer corn. 

The soil temperatures at the 4 inch depth this morning in Kimball was 43 degrees,at Imperial,it was 45 degrees, and at McCook it was 48 degrees.  Snow last night dropped 0.11 inches of precipitation in Kimball, an estimated 0.12 inches at Imperial and 0.18 inches in McCook.  Year to date precipitation totals are 5.68 inches at Kimball, 11.11 inches at Imperial, and 7.56 inches at McCook.  This information is courtesy of the NeRAIN website.  Imperial, on average, has 18,54 inches of precipitation from January 1 through October 31.

October 15, 2012...  Corn harvest is moving along in the Imperial area with 75- 80 % of the harvest completed.  Forecasts for this week are calling for above normal temperatures and breezy to windy conditions especially on Wednesday, October 17.  The forecasts are calling for gusts up to 39 mile per hour on Wednesday.  With most of the corn in the 13 to 19 % grain moisture range, we could expect to see lodging and ear drop.  Stalk quality continues to decline. 

River flows in the area remain low due to the low precipitation levels the last 4- 6 months. 
River and location.                                           cubic feet/ sec.      gallons/ sec.        acre inches / sec. 
N Platte at NE/ WY state line.                                  249                             1,862.5              0.0686
S Platte at Roscoe, NE.                                               2.58                             19.3       
N Fork Republican at NE/ WY state line.                    21                                157.1             0.0058
Rock Creek at Parks, NE.                                            5.4                                40.392
S Fork Republican at Benkelman, NE.                         0.8                                 5.984
Frenchman Creek at Culbertson, NE.                          1.04                               7,78
Republican at Orleans, NE.                                          0.5                                 3.74
Republican at Hardy, NE.                                             1.55                              11.59
Missouri at Rulo, NE.                                           43,900                         328,372               12.09
Mississippi at Vicksburg, MS                              210,000                      1,570,000               57.08

Most of the corn in the Imperial area was at the black layer stage by September 13 this year accumulating 2800 growing degree day units.  By the time the first killing freeze killed plants, the area accumulated 3096 units.  This year we had 26 days where the temperatures were 95 to 99 degrees and 22 days where the temperatures were greater than 100 degrees.   From April 20 through Octrober 6 we had 7.90 inches of precipitation.

September 10, 2012...  Corn has accumulated 2662 growing degree day units from April 20- September 4, 2012 with 7.29 inches of rain, and 22 days of 100 degree temperatures or higher.  Last year we had 2387. 5 GDD units and 21.43 inches of rain, and 4 days of 100 degree temperatures or higher. The 32 year average is 2580 GDD units and 14.71 inches of rain.  The year 2002 was our driest year in the past 116 years.  We had 2578 GDD units with 7.27 inches of rain and 8 days of 100 degree temperatures.  The brutual temperatures and lack of rainfalll, stressed man, crops, and livestock.

Crops are rapidly maturing with 100 % of the popcorn and 97% of the corn at black layer or within 5 days of black layer.  Most of the dry beans are in the process of being harvested.  Soybeans are 2- 3 weeks away from harvest.  Both irrigated and dryland corn are being harvested.  The first load or irrigated corn was delivered to the elevator on Thursday, August 30, 2012 with grain moisture of 13%. 

With the growth stage of corn where it is at, and the rapid dry down of the crop, corn farmers need to evaluate their varieties.  An early harvest is recommended for those varieties needing to be harvested before 18% grain moisture. 

June 17. 2012...  Soil temperatures this morning were 64 degrees at Kimball, 69 degrees at Imperial, and 70 degrees at McCook.  Rainfall in the area has been spotty with some light hail on Tuesday June 12.  Kimball and Imperial received no rainfall this past week with year to date precipitation at 3.09 inches for Kimball, and 6.82 inches for Imperial.  McCook received several small showers totaling 0.31 inches this week and bringing the year to date total to 4.05 inches. 

Wheat harvest has begun in the Imperial area with some dryland fields coming in.  Kernels are shriveled in some cases.  Irrigated wheat may not come in for 10 days.  Some dryland fields still have green heads in them with kernels at the soft dough stage. 

Corn in the area is mostly at the 8- 12 leaf stage.  Early planted fields are waist high.  Corn has accumulated 795.5 growing degree day units from April 20- June 12, 2012.  Last year we had 534.5 units.  The 32 year average is 680 units.  The highest was 1987 with 824 units; the lowest was 1996 with 522 units.  Rootworms, spider mites, and corn borer are active in fields, with some reports of Northern corn leaf blight, Goss' wilt, and common corn smut being reported. 

Dry beans and soybeans are at second to fourth trifoliate.  We are finding thrips in most fields.  Bacterial blight is common in most fields as well. 

June 9, 2012...  The soil temperatures this morning was 64 degrees at Kimball, 70 degrees at Imperial, and 71 degrees at McCook.  Kimball and Imperial received rain this past week while McCook received no rain.  Kimball received 0.84 inches, bringing the year to date total to 3.09 inches.  Imperial received 0.27 inches bringing the year to date to 6.82 inches.  McCook has had 3.74 inches of rainfall January 1 through June 9. 

Irrigated crop growth has exploded with some early planted corn 3 feet tall, at 9- 10 leaf.  Dry beans are at first true leaf.  Soybeans are at the 1- 2 trifoliate stage.  Irrigated wheat is at the dough stage.  Dryland corn continues to grow with 24 to 36 inches of moist soil beneath it.  Dryland wheat has lost most of its green color and leaves with the heat and wind this past week. 

Rootworms are feeding with most larvae at the 1 to 3 instar growth stage.  Most populations are low.  Corn borer moths are in flight in most fields but moth numbers are low.  Spider mites have moved from wheat to corn and popcorn.  There are reports of Stewarts wilt infecting dryland corn in the panhandle.  We have seen Goss' wilt in corn and popcorn in Hitchcock and Dundy County.   Bacterial blight is showing up in dry beans in the area. 

River flows in the area are showing the sign of drought.  Only the Missouri and the N Platte are showing higher flows from snow melt. 
River and location                                                                  cubic ft./ sec.     gallons/ sec.      acre inches/ sec. 
N Platte at NE/ WY state line.                                                              859                6 425.32                   0.2366
S Platte at Roscoe, NE.                                                                        64                   478.72                    0.0176
N Fork Republican at NE/ CO state line.                                          1.9                  14.21    
Rock Creek at Parks, NE                                                                     5.4                  40.39             
S Fork Republican at Benkelman, NE.                                             0.49                  3.66
Frenchman Creek at Culbertson, NE.                                              13                   97.24
Republican at Orleans, NE.                                                                32                 239.36
Republican at Hardy, NE.                                                                    46                 344.08
Missouri at Rulo, NE.                                                                     52,200              390.456                       14.3793
Mississippi at Vicksburg, NE.                                                       299,000           2,236,520                     82.3643       

June 2, 2012...  The soil temperatures this morning was 54 degrees at Kimball, 59 degrees at Imperial, and 60 degrees at McCook.  Rainfall in the area has been low with Kimball receiving 1.36 inches in the last month for a year to date total of 2.25 inches.  Imperial has received 1.09 inches with the year to date total of 6.55 inches.  The average for Imperial January 1 through May 31 is 7.31 inches.  McCook received 1.01 inches for a year to date total of 3.74 inches.  The U. S Drought Monitor at the University of Nebraska has all of the FVC trade area in a short term drought.  All of the southwestern U. S. is in some form of drought as of May 31.  

River flows in the area are down due to the drought. 
River and location.                                               cubic ft./ sec.         gallons/ sec.       acre inches/ sec.   
N Platte at the NE/ WY state line                                        728                   5,445.44                   0.2005
S Platte at Roscoe, NE.                                                       83                      620.84       
N Fork Republican at NE/ CO state line.                         4.8                        35.9
S Fork Republican at Benkelman, NE.                            2.0                      14.96
Rock Creek at Parks, NE                                                   4.1                      30.7
Frenchman Creek at Culbertson, NE                           15.0                     112.2
Republican at Orleans, NE                                             50                        374                            0.0138
Republican at Hardy, NE                                               107                       800.36                       0.0295
Missouri at Rulo, NE                                                     57,900                   433,092                   15.9495 
Mississippi at Vicksburg, MS                                       334,000                2,498,320                   92.0056

Crop growth has been good even on dryland fields that were properly managed with weed control.  Corn is at 5- 7 leaf stage with some late planted fields still emerging to 3 leaf stage.  Soybeans and dry beans are mostly at the first true leaf stage.  Wheat is at mealy ripe to soft dough.  The drought is causing some kernels to abort and causing heads to turn amber in the dryland fields. 

Last week I found stripe rust in turf grass in Imperial.  There has been some stripe rust on flag leaves in irrigated wheat.  Corn root worms are hatching and I have found some root scarring.  Last week we did find a corn borer moth in flight in one field. 

Corn has accumulated 522 growing degree day units from April 20- May 29, 2012.  Last year we had 304 units.  The 32 year average is 436 units. 

 May 4, 2012...  The soil temperature at the 4 inch depth this morning was 53 degrees in Kimball, 60 degrees in Ogallala, 61 degrees in Imperial, and 63 degrees in McCook.  Growing degree day units measures the daily high and low temperatures between 50 and 86 degrees.  The University of Nebraska uses a May 1 and May 10 starting date which is an average from between southeast and northwest Nebraska.  I use an April 20 starting date.  Corn has accumulated 135.5 growing degree day units in Imperial from April 20 through May 1.  Last year we had 55 units for the same time.  During the last 32 years the average for April 20 through May 1 is 89.3 units.  The year with the lowest units was 1984 with 25 units and the year with the most is 1989 with 175.5 units.  It takes corn 130 to 150 units to emerge from the ground and we are finding corn emerging in the early planted fields in the area. 


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