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 Post subject: Colorado Hay Report and Drought Outlooks – 04/20/17 EDIT
Post Posted: Apr 20, 2017 9:04 am 
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Colorado Hay Report and Drought Outlooks – 04/20/17

** Edited to add The Colorado Hay Report **

Here are your weekly excerpts from the USDA’s Colorado Hay Report, U.S. Drought Monitor’s comparison report for Colorado, excerpts from the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), and N.O.A.A.'s Seasonal Drought Outlook with its pertinent discussion.

I will attempt to issue this report every Thursday before noon but since this is a compendium of excerpts from various sources, it is possible that a late submission to you will occur. If that is the case, I will post a notice to that effect.

Hopefully, these reports going forward will help to keep you not only informed on the state’s drought conditions, but more importantly, the resulting impact on hay availability and corresponding changes in its pricing. These reports do not accurately reflect the final selling price of hay to you. Besides its production, processing, transportation, and (in some cases), storage will add to the final cost. I estimate that you can expect to pay an additional $1 or $2 (or more) per bale.


The Big Picture




Greeley, CO Thu, Apr 20, 2017 USDA-CO Dept of Ag Market News

Compared to last week, prices were higher with activity light and good demand in all classes.

The USDA NRCS National Water and Climate Center’s Colorado SNOTEL Snow/Precipitation Update Report for Thursday, April 20, 2017 has the Gunnison River Basin Snow Water Equivalent at 100%, the Upper Colorado River basin at 89%, the South Platte River Basin at 93%, the Laramie and North Platte River Basins at 86%, the Yampa and White River Basins at 75%, the Arkansas River Basin at 95%, the Upper Rio Grande Basin at 101% and the San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan River Basins at 107% as a percent of the median of all SNOTEL sites in each basin compared to previous years.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, in western Colorado, snowpack was generally above normal for the season and with an early and fast melt occurring, stream flows are generally much above average. However, the Yampa/White Basin was one of the only areas in the Upper Colorado River Basin that did not reach average peak snowpack. It was reported that not only is the snow melting early, but the crops are coming out of dormancy earlier than usual.

Because of the warmer than normal temperatures, low elevation snow pack has disappeared much earlier than normal.

Due to the above mentioned conditions, all prices reported are FOB at the stack or barn unless otherwise noted.

Prices reflect load lots of hay. If you have hay for sale or need hay, use the services of the Colorado Department of Agriculture website:

Northeast Colorado Areas


Round Bales: Good 100.00.

Alfalfa/Grass Mix

Large Squares: Good 125.00.

No reported quotes for all other classes of hay.

Southeast Colorado Areas


Large Squares: Premium 150.00
Small Squares: Supreme 200.00 (6.50-7.00 per bale).


Large Squares: Premium 227.00, retail.
Small Squares: Premium 245.00 (6.50 per bale), retail.


Large Squares: Good 100.00.
Large Rounds: Good 100.00.

Sorghum-Sudan Grass

Large Rounds: Utility 75.00-85.00 Del.

No reported quotes for all other classes of hay.

San Luis Valley Area


Large Squares: Premium 150.00-160.00.

No reported quotes for all other classes of hay.

Southwest Colorado Areas


Small Squares: Good 185.00 (6.00 per bale).

Orchard Grass

Small Squares – 3 tie: Fair 200.00 (9.00 per bale).

Orchard/Alfalfa Mix

Small Squares: Premium 270.00 (13.00 per bale).

No reported quotes from all other classes of hay.

Mountains and Northwest Colorado Areas


Small Squares: Premium 190.00 (5.50 per bale); Good 150.00.
Large Squares: Good 100.00-125.00.

No reported quotes for all other classes of hay.


Northeast: Weld, Washington, Morgan, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Lincoln, Elbert, Adams,
Sedgwick, Yuma, Larimer, Jefferson, Douglas, Kit Carson, Phillips, Logan,
Boulder, Arapahoe, and El Paso.

Southeast: Fremont, Custer, Huerfano, Las Animas, Bent, Otero, Prowers, Crowley,
and Pueblo.

San Luis Valley: Saguache, Alamosa, Costilla, Conejos, Rio Grande, and Mineral.

Southwest: Mesa, Delta, Montrose, Ouray, San Miguel, Montezuma, Dolores, San
Juan, Hinsdale, Archuleta, and La Lata.

Mountains and Northwest: Moffat, Routt, Jackson, Rio Blanco, Garfield, Gunnison,
Teller, Grand, Chaffee, Park, Clear Creek, Gilpin, Summit, Lake, and Eagle.


Drought Monitor

NIDIS data collection for this report is cut off at 7:00 a.m. every Tuesday. The data are then released every Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. Note that some of the contributing data (a.k.a. feeder reports) are shown after the USDM Comparison Report starting with the Glossary section.

USDM Comparison Report


(1) This week, .00% of the state is in D4 (Exceptional) drought conditions.
(2) Last week, .00% of the state was in D4 (Exceptional) drought conditions.
(3) Three months ago, .00% of the state was in D4 (Exceptional) drought conditions.
(4) One year ago, .00% of the state was in D4 (Exceptional) drought conditions.


AHPS – Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service ( a N.O.A.A. service)
D0 – Abnormally Dry
D1 – Moderate Drought
D2 – Severe Drought
D3 – Exceptional Drought
D4 – Extreme Drought
ENSO – El Nino/La Nina Southern Oscillation
Nada – Spanish for “Nothing”
NASS - USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service
NIDIS – National Integrated Drought Information System
NRCS – National Resources Conservation Service (USDA)
RFV – Relative Feed Value
SPI – Standardized Precipitation Index
SNOTEL – Snow Telemetry (an automated snowpack monitoring system)
UCRB – Upper Colorado River Basin
USDM – US Drought Monitor
VegDRI – Vegetation Drought Response Index
WYTD – Water-Year-To-Date

US Drought Monitor Summary

Summary for Apr 18, 2017

The last week was characterized by mostly dry conditions and warmer than average temperatures across the UCRB and eastern Colorado. Warm, west-southwesterly winds dominated the week's weather pattern with a couple minor low pressure disturbances spinning off the lee of the Rockies and brining modest amounts of moisture into eastern Colorado. There were several notable thunderstorms that occurred in northeast Colorado and southeast Colorado, which brought over an inch of precipitation to isolated areas. Most of the region received less than a tenth of an inch of new moisture.

Snowpack, which had begun to rebound, went back into full melt mode over the past week with even faster melt rates than in mid-to-late March due largely to more intense sun angles. Snowmelt is now generally slightly ahead of the seasonal median schedule, but that could change if another cool, wet week is realized. The only major river basin that did not peak with above average snowpack this winter was the Yampa & White River Basin. This area has been drier than average from mid-January onward.

Due to the combination of above average snowpack, early snowmelt, and fast melt rates, streamflows across the UCRB and eastern Colorado are now generally much above average. These streamflows should be expected to converge toward the normal range in the coming weeks as the streamflow averages themselves increase. In areas such as the Duchesne and Upper Green Basins where annual snowpack was much above average, look for streamflows to remain above average through peak season. Major reservoirs are mostly in good shape across the region. Lake Powell, which is still below normal, and will remain below normal, is scheduled to net 1.2 million acre feet this spring.

Root soil soil moisture percentiles are generally high across the western and central portions of the UCRB. This can be attributed to a combination of above average winter moisture and early snowmelt. Root zone soils are in the normal range across much of the state of Colorado at this time. The central east plains and urban corridor are drier than average.

Weather outlooks indicate that wetter conditions and near normal temperatures will likely return for the northern portion of the UCRB and northeast Colorado, but remain warmer than average for the southern portion of the basin with large precipitation unlikely over the next seven days. The 8-14 day time frame shows increased chances of wetter conditions returning for the full region.


UCRB/Upper Missouri:
It is recommended that short-term D0 be introduced to extreme southwest Laramie County, southern Carbon County, and the very southeast corner of Sweetwater County in Wyoming. This recommendation comes from Tony Bergantino in the Wyoming state climate office. It is recommended that short-term D0 also be added to eastern Moffat and Rio Blanco Counties, and all but the southern edges of Routt and Jackson Counties in Colorado. This area had an excellent January from the early 2017 snow onslaught, but has since been drier than average during what is normally peak precipitation season. The Yampa/White Basin was one of the only areas in the UCRB that did not reach average peak snowpack. Snow is melting early, and crops are coming out of dormancy early. Low elevation snowpack disappeared much earlier than normal.

Eastern Colorado: It is recommended that eastern and central Baca County, eastern Prowers County, eastern Kiowa County, and Cheyenne County be improved from D1 to D0. While central Prowers County did receive two beneficial thunderstorms over the course of the last week, this recommendation is primarily a reanalysis of earlier improvements. SPIs in the area are slightly above average on short-term timescales, and slightly below average long-term. Modeled root zone soil moisture in the region has returned to the normal range.


** New Report **

U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook

Latest Seasonal Assessment – Although the climatologic dry season is fast approaching in the West, the past 30 days continued to bring ample precipitation to much of the region. In addition, 30-day temperatures have averaged near to below normal in the Northwest and northern California, providing a steady and stable start to the spring snow melt season in the Cascade and Sierra Nevada Mountains. But with MJJ climatologically dry, any lingering areas of D0-D2 are expected to persist through the end of July (e.g. far Southwest).

In the northern half of the High Plains, between one-half to two-thirds of their normal annual precipitation falls during MJJ, making the late spring and early summer a critical time for receiving precipitation across much of the middle third of the Nation. Also, over one-third of the normal annual precipitation occurs during MJJ in the upper Midwest and southern half of Florida. With recent short-term wetness and good odds for above-median precipitation in the short and long-term forecasts (out to 3-months), drought improvement or removal is favored in the High Plains and south-central Great Plains. In Florida, drought may linger through May into June, but tropical showers should greatly increase in coverage and intensity during the summer and eliminate any short-term dryness by July 31.

Near to above normal precipitation this year has slowly eased drought across New England, and with the short-term forecasts pointing toward above-median precipitation (1- and 3-month precipitation LLFs were EC), additional slow improvement was expected. Similarly, short-term forecasts in the mid-Atlantic favor decent rainfall, hence the improvement. In the Southeast, however, short-term dryness across central Alabama and Georgia has recently expanded the drought (D1) here.

Additionally, with long-term drought across northern sections of AL and GA and the western Carolinas and prior short-term drought across southern sections, along with mostly unfavorable short-term forecasts for decent rains (and EC for 1- and 3-month precipitation LLFs but above-normal temperature odds), drought is expected to persist or develop across most of AL, GA, SC, and western NC. In Hawaii, as the climatological dry season sets in during the summer and with no tilt in the 1- and 3-month precipitation outlooks (EC), drought areas (western Big Island and eastern Maui) are favored to persist.

Discussion for the Seasonal Drought Outlook – Tools used in the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook (SDO) included the official Climate Prediction Center (CPC) temperature and precipitation outlooks for May through July (MJJ) 2017, various short- and medium-range forecasts and models such as the 7-day quantitative precipitation forecast (QPF) totals from the Weather Prediction Center (WPC), the 6-10 day and 8-14 day CPC extended-range forecasts (ERFs), Week 3-4 outlooks, dynamical models (CFSv2, NMME, IRI, IMME, and ECMWF), the 384-hour total precipitation forecasts from several runs of the GFS, the four-month Palmer drought termination and amelioration probabilities, climatology for the MJJ season, and initial conditions (used the 4/18/2017 US Drought Monitor). ENSO-neutral conditions are favored through the Northern Hemisphere spring, with increasing chances for El Niño development by late summer and fall.

In the Northeast, 30-day precipitation departures (DNPs) have been close to normal (between -3 and 3 inches), as have average temperatures across most of New England (between -2 and 2 degF). A few D1 areas persisted in parts of southern New Hampshire and western Connecticut as long-term hydrologic impacts remained. Drought has been ameliorated across western New England as 6-month precipitation has been much above normal; however, to the east, precipitation since mid-October was at or slightly below normal, hence the lingering long-term drought. Farther south in the mid-Atlantic, between 50-75% of normal precipitation (PNPs) has fallen on most of Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and North Carolina during the past 6-months, and recent 30-day precipitation has also been mostly below normal. With the current drought not as entrenched in the mid-Atlantic as it was in New England last fall, a decent period of surplus rains should be enough for improvement. The WPC 7-day QPF depicts heavy totals (2-5 inches) across the mid-Atlantic and moderate amounts (1-2 inches) in New England, while the 6-10 and 8-14 day ERFs favor sub-median precipitation early and near-median later along the East Coast. The May and MJJ temperature outlooks call for increased chances of above-normal temperatures across the Northeast, and the precipitation outlooks favor Equal Chances (EC) of below-, near-, and above-median precipitation. Although there are no overwhelming indicators for improvement of drought, the recent trend has been for wetter conditions and slow improvement, especially in New England. In the mid-Atlantic, the 7-day QPF forecast may be enough to reverse the regions drying trend and reduce drought.

Confidence is moderate for the Northeast (New England and mid-Atlantic).

For the Southeast, 30-day PNPs varied from 110-175% of normal across northern sections of Alabama and Georgia into the western Carolinas (where long-term drought existed), and across northeastern Florida. In contrast, less than half the normal rain fell on central sections of Alabama and Georgia and southern Florida, and drought (D1 or drier) recently developed or expanded in these areas. With the 7-day QPF keeping the largest totals to the north of MS-AL-GA-SC, the 6-10 and 8-14 day ERFs forecasting below to near-median precipitation and above-normal temperature chances, CPC's 30-day and 90-day temperature outlooks calling for enhanced chances of above-normal temperatures (EC for precipitation), and the onset of the growing season with higher temperatures and increased evapotranspiration and water demand, persistence of drought due to short-term forecasts are likely in existing drought areas while development is likely in areas already at D0. This outlook assumes the lack of any major tropical systems during June and July affecting this region, along with a lack of any definitive longer-term tools, thus lowering its confidence. In southern Florida, removal of drought is considered likely as the tropical rainy season usually begins in late May or early June and continues throughout the remainder of the MJJ season. Note that the drought may increase in intensity and areal coverage early in this period if the start of the rains are delayed or initially weak, but should be erased by the end of July.

Confidence is low (AL-GA-SC) to moderate (FL) for the Southeast.

Across the Southern region (southern Plains and lower Mississippi Valley), excess precipitation during the last 30-days generally ranged between 1 and 3 inches, with 3-8 inch surpluses in southwestern Louisiana, central Mississippi, eastern Texas, and parts of southern Oklahoma. The rains have reversed a dry trend as most areas have seen 1-2 category improvements recently. The 7-day QPF and 6-10 and 8-14 day ERFs favor a continuation of wet weather, especially across northeastern Oklahoma and northern Arkansas, while the CPC monthly and seasonal precipitation outlooks indicate elevated odds of above-median precipitation for the western Gulf Coast, especially eastern Texas and southern Louisiana, and western Texas and Oklahoma for MJJ. In addition, MJJ climatology is fairly wet (30-45% of annual total), especially in western sections. Therefore, recent wetness plus a wet climatology with favorable precipitation outlooks equals drought improvement/removal for the gradually decreasing areas of drought (D1-D2) in this region.

Confidence is moderate to high for the Southern Region (OK-TX-LA).

For the High Plains, PNPs since March 20 ranged from 10-70% of normal across eastern Montana and the Dakotas to much above normal (>150%) across Kansas, eastern Colorado, most of Wyoming, and parts of Nebraska and southwestern South Dakota. With normals generally still low during March and April, surpluses and deficits were less than 3 inches, except in Kansas (3-6 inch surpluses). However, similar to the Southern Region, MJJ climatology is quite wet, with the northern and central High Plains typically receiving one-half to two-thirds of their normal annual precipitation. The rest of the Plains usually sees 40-50% of their yearly precipitation during MJJ. With short-term wetness in the region, an increasingly wet climatology during the next 3 months, unsettled weather during the next 7-days, a tilt toward above-median precipitation in both the 6-10 and 8-14 day ERFs, and a hint of above-median precipitation in both the 1- and 3-month precipitation LLFs, the few remaining areas of drought should be gone by the end of July. An area of concern is that underlying long-term impacts have re-appeared after short but intense periods of dryness, heat, and wind from the south-central Plains 2011-15 drought, so it is unclear if the current and future wetness will be enough to counter long-term hydrologic impacts.

Confidence is moderate to high for the High Plains.

The 2016-17 Water Year (since Oct. 1) in the West continued its incredible run of abundant precipitation. The 30-day PNPs were well above-normal (>150%) in northern and central California, eastern Oregon and Washington, central Idaho, north-central Nevada, much of Utah, and western Wyoming. The rest of the West saw near to above-normal precipitation, except for subnormal precipitation in the Southwest and western Colorado. With the wet season winding down across the West, climatology favors increasing dryness and warmth. After huge drought improvements occurred in California during this near-record wet Water Year (WY), the ongoing problem is to manage the excessive snow melt from the still much above normal Sierra Nevada snow pack (April 19 state snow water content at 187%) into the rivers and reservoirs. In contrast, a few small areas of D1 lingered in southern California due to incomplete recharge of some reservoirs and ground water, and in southwest Arizona where the WY was below normal. While the climatology for May and June is quite dry in the latter area, July rains normally ramp up due to the southwest monsoon, and might provide enough rain for improvement by July 31. However, it is more likely that drought will persist in southern California and the Southwest.

Confidence for the West is high.

Recent dryness has expanded drought (D1 or drier) into eastern Maui and the western Big Island of Hawaii while the remaining islands are in D0. Coming out of the winter wet season, odds favor persistence of drought during the late spring and early summer months as monthly rainfall totals typically decrease. The Hawaii May and MJJ precipitation outlooks call for EC. With respect to development, models favor slight above-normal rainfall odds across the northern islands (Kauai and Oahu) based upon possible El Niño development later this year, thus no development introduced. Similarly in the central islands (Molokai, Lanai, eastern Maui), with no tilt either way for above or below median rainfall (EC), no development was added. Farther south on the Big Island, with EC forecast, persistence was noted for the western (leeward) side. For the eastern (windward) side, the trade winds are expected to return and bring typical showers which should be enough to stave off development during MJJ. There is no drought at this time across Alaska or Puerto Rico, and none is expected.

Confidence is moderate for Hawaii.

Forecaster: David Miskus

Next Seasonal Outlook issued: May 18, 2017 at 8:30 AM EDT


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