Below normal precipitation and above normal temperatures in January have provided good news for North Dakota livestock ranchers, but some farmers are expressing concern about snow protection for alfalfa and winter wheat.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its weekly crop and weather report that the average snow depth statewide was 1.8 inches on Jan. 29, compared with 24.3 inches a year ago.
The north central district reported the highest snow depth at 3.2 inches. The southwest district reported no measurable snow on the ground.
Snow cover protection for alfalfa is rated 90 percent poor, 9 percent adequate and 1 percent excellent. Snow cover protection for winter wheat is rated 80 percent poor and 20 percent adequate.
Cattle conditions are rated 7 percent fair, 63 good and 30 excellent.