Colorado Crop Progress & Condition Report, Week Ending May 21, 2023



Strong spring storms delivered rainfall to much of Colorado during the middle of the week, according to the Mountain Region Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA. Based on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association data, most of the State received at least half an inch of moisture, with accumulations exceeding 2 inches in some eastern counties. The U.S. Drought Monitor for May 18 noted week-to-week improvement across the State. Roughly 45 percent of the State was reported in some drought category, down from 58 percent last week, and down from 100 percent a year ago.


Cooler than average temperatures were widespread last week. Temperatures in the southeastern corner of the State were reported as much as eight degrees below the average. Reports from the San Luis Valley noted the recent rains improved the crop outlook, but moisture only reached the top couple inches of the soil.


Wet weather has slowed the potato cultivation process and delayed herbicide application to the barley and potato crop. Reporter comments from the northwestern portion of the State noted pasture green up should begin soon, but low soil temperatures due to the moisture has slowed the process. Elsewhere, reporter comments from Yuma County indicated that substantial rainfall in the area has improved drought conditions and moved the County out of D2 drought conditions. Flooding resulting from snowmelt remained a concern at the forefront for producers in mountainous locations. Reports from Delta, Mesa and Montrose Counties noted flooding along the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers is expected to crest next week.


The southeastern counties received measurable moisture last week, with isolated areas having received over two inches of moisture. Drought conditions in Baca County remained severe to exceptional, but current indications do not include the heavy rain events from last week. As of May 21, snowpack in Colorado was 137 percent measured as a percent of median snowfall according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), USDA.  Southwest and San Luis Valley snowpack were 259 and 162 percent of the median, respectively.


First cutting of alfalfa hay made minimal progress last week in the eastern portion of the State. Growers in the northeastern portion of the State progressed proso millet planting quickly last week, with 20 percent of the crop planted, ahead of the 5-year average of 15 percent. Similarly, producers in the area were also busy planting their sugarbeet crop, with 80 percent of the crop planted, compared to 51 percent last week. In the San Luis Valley, potato producers have planted 81 percent of their intended acreage, continuing behind the 5-year average pace of 88 percent. Planting of the corn crop progressed last week despite rain events, although planted acreage and emergence still trailed the 5-year average.


Statewide, 29 percent of the winter wheat crop was reported in good to excellent condition, compared with 26 percent last week, 13 percent last year, and a 5-year average of 44 percent. Condition ratings in East Central Colorado, where the largest portion of the winter wheat crop is produced, were mostly fair to good. Stored feed supplies were rated 28 percent very short, 29 percent short, 42 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus. Cattle death loss was 1 percent heavy, 41 percent average, and 58 percent light. Sheep death loss was 2 percent heavy, 49 percent average, and 49 percent light.

Filed Under: AgricultureEnvironmentFeaturedMedia Release


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