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 Post subject: Colorado Hay Report and Drought Outlooks – 03/16/17 EDIT
Post Posted: Mar 16, 2017 9:28 am 
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Colorado Hay Report and Drought Outlooks – 03/16/17

** 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, Mar 09, 2017 USDA-CO Dept of Ag Market News

Colorado Hay Report

Compared to last week, prices were mostly steady with activity light and demand high in all classes.

Many producers are sold out of last year’s crop lending to the light demand seen. Producers feel optimistic about the outlook on new crop prices because of the dwindling supplies of old crop. Many producers are shipping any spare hay stocks down to the areas most affected by the recent wildfires.

The USDA NRCS National Water and Climate Center’s Colorado SNOTEL Snow/Precipitation Update Report for Thursday, March 16, 2017 has the Gunnison River Basin Snow Water Equivalent at 139%, the Upper Colorado River basin at 128%, the South Platte River Basin at 116%, the Laramie and North Platte River Basins at 120%, the Yampa and White River Basins at 114%, the Arkansas River Basin at 117%, the Upper Rio Grande Basin at 129% and the San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan River Basins at 138% as a percent of the median of all SNOTEL sites in each basin compared to previous years.

According to the United State Drought Monitor, warmer than normal temperatures dominated the region, with departures of up to 5 degrees common. Precipitation was greatest over the Pacific Northwest and northern Rocky Mountains as snow continued to accumulate in the higher elevations. In Colorado, severe drought was added in the north while moderate drought expanded in the southeast. It has been very dry on the plains, and conditions will need to be watched closely in the near term.

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


Small Squares: Supreme 300.00 (10.00 per bale), small lot.
Round Bales: Good 100.00.

Alfalfa/Grass Mix

Large Squares: Good 125.00.


Large Squares: Premium 185.00.
Small Squares: Premium 245.00-250.00 (7.00-8.00 per bale), small lot.


Large Squares: Good 75.00.

No reported quotes for all other classes of hay.

Southeast Colorado Areas


Large Squares: Good 130.00 DEL.
Small Squares: Supreme 200.00 (6.50-7.00 per bale).


Large Squares: Good 100.00.


Small Squares: Premium 245.00, retail.

No reported quotes for all other classes of hay.

San Luis Valley Area

No reported quotes for all other classes of hay.

Southwest Colorado Areas


Small Squares: Premium 200.00 (7.00 per bale), small lot.

Orchard Grass

Small Squares: Good 220.00 (10.00 per bale), small lot.

No reported quotes from all other classes of hay.

Mountains and Northwest Colorado Areas


Large Squares: Premium 140.00; Good 105.00; Fair 75.00.
Small Squares: Premium 190.00 (5.50 per bale).

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 Mar 14, 2017

It was a warmer, dryer than average week across the Upper Colorado River Basin and eastern Colorado, and, in many places, was quite windy as well. Over half an inch of precipitation fell on the Upper Green River Basin and on the northern Rockies (around and north of Rabbit Ears Pass.) Most areas received less than one tenth of an inch of precipitation, or were shut out entirely for the week. The warm, dry, windy conditions have made for much above normal evaporative demand across eastern Colorado, and have created fire weather. Currently, the main fire weather concern is in El Paso County and Freemont County, but with most of eastern Colorado now being primed for fires, the main focus of concern will shift as the wind does.

High elevation snowpack is near-average to much above average across the Upper Colorado River Basin. The Yampa and White River subbasins are showing near normal snowpack for this time of year after a below average February. It is worth note, however, that snowpack is measured from well-positioned, high-elevation SNOTEL stations, and at lower elevations snowpack melted off more quickly than usual. Precipitation was much above average in February in the Upper Green Basin and Duchesne Basin, so these subbasins are well above their seasonal expected snowpack peaks. Net oblation is now occurring in the Duchesne and San Juan Basins. Because these basins are have received well above normal snowpack, a little bit of early melt is likely a good thing.

Streamflows are above average for most of the Upper Colorado River Basin and eastern Colorado. Major Reservoirs are releasing water in preparation for the upcoming runoff from snowpack.

Soil moisture levels continue to fall in eastern Colorado with respect to average. The VIC soil moisture model now shows a large swath of root zone soil moisture below the 5th percentile across eastern Colorado from Logan County down all the way to Las Animas County (nearly border to border).

Winter wheat isn't coming up in some places, such as Lincoln County. According to the National Phenology Network, vegetation is coming out of dormancy two-to-three weeks ahead of schedule across eastern Colorado. This creates a lose-lose scenario wherein either already an already depleted root zone must sustain a longer growing season, or the growing season must be impacted by large killing frosts.


Status Quo. No Drought here.

Eastern Colorado: It is recommended that D1 be added to eastern Las Animas County, northwest Baca County, southeast Bent County, and southern Prowers County in eastern Colorado. Recent weather has been anomalously dry, hot, and windy. While these areas were left D0 due to receiving more precipitation that surrounding areas in late summer and early fall, soil conditions are deteriorating.

It is recommended that D1 be added to western Weld County both northwest and southwest of Greely. This will include extreme northeast Larimer County and a sliver of north-central Adams County.

It is recommended that D2 be added to Denver County, the western nose of Adams County, western Arapahoe County, extreme northwest Douglas County, and extreme eastern Jefferson County. Denver Metro area 9-month SPIs are now below -2, similar to Lincoln County, which is already D2. Recent weather has been much hotter and drier than normal.

It is recommended that D2 be added to southeast Larimer County to include the Urban Corridor from Wellington down to Berthoud. Between a much drier than average summer and fall in 2016, a second half of winter and a delayed ramp up in precipitation with the onset of meteorologic spring, this area is now reporting SPEIs below -1.5, or below the 7th percentile.

It is generally recognized that conditions across eastern Colorado have been deteriorating in recent weeks, and if conditions stay dry more degradations will follow. This week the forecast is for more above average temperatures, windy weather, and almost no precipitation. However, if your area of interest was not yet demoted to D2 please note that appraising conditions as below the 10th percentile is a serious and usually difficult decision. It generally requires both substantial recent and longer-term dryness. 9-month and 12-month precipitation accumulations for most areas of Colorado are below average, but not yet in the bottom 10 percentile range.


** New Report **

U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook

Latest Seasonal Assessment – After a phenomenal wet season for California and other parts of the western contiguous U.S. this winter, the climatological dry season is approaching. Any lingering pockets of moderate drought or abnormal dryness are expected to persist during the April-May-June (AMJ) 2017 season. Across the central portion of the Lower 48 states, 35-50 percent of the annual precipitation received typically comes during this season, favoring large areas of drought improvement/removal. Exceptions may include from central Colorado southeastward to central Oklahoma, where drought persistence is considered more likely. Drought development is favored for far eastern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle area. Drought improvement/removal is also forecast for the Florida peninsula, with the climatological onset of their rainy season expected near the end of May. CPC's precipitation outlooks for both April and AMJ favor increased odds of above-median precipitation across much of the Lower Mississippi Valley, supporting drought improvement/removal in that region. Drought improvement/removal is also anticipated across Missouri and surrounding areas, though with lower confidence. In the Southeast, northernmost areas of the long-term drought area may see some improvement/removal, as this area is expected to be close enough to passing storm systems. Southern portions of this drought region are considered more likely to persist. In the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, recent heavy precipitation and the forecast passage of occasional low pressure systems favors the improvement/removal of drought. In Hawaii, the only remaining drought area (on the Big Island) is favored to persist, as the climatological dry season sets in.

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 April through June (AMJ) 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), 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 AMJ season, and initial conditions.

In the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions, the Applied Climate Information System (ACIS) 30-day Departure from Normal Precipitation (DNP) map depicts precipitation deficits of 1-3 inches near and along the coast, including much of southern New England and Long Island, NY, eastern New Jersey, and parts of the Delmarva Peninsula and Virginia. Well inland, from western Pennsylvania across much of Upstate New York and northern New England, precipitation surpluses of up to 2 inches are depicted. The April and Apr-May-Jun (AMJ) temperature outlooks from CPC call for increased chances of above-normal temperatures across the region, and the precipitation outlooks favor Equal Chances (EC) of below-, near-, and above-median precipitation. A look at the Weather Prediction Center's (WPC) Week-1 precipitation outlook, and CPC's 6-10 day, 8-14 day, and Weeks 3&4 precipitation outlooks all indicate precipitation anomalies may be near- to above-median during the next several weeks, associated with the occasional passage of low pressure systems. Improvement and/or removal of drought is therefore anticipated. It is also thought that the next few weeks of occasional storminess will provide enough precipitation to reverse the recent drying trend across the mid-Atlantic area.

Confidence is moderate for the Northeast and mid-Atlantic.

For the Southeast United States, ACIS 30-day DNPs ranged mostly from 1-5 inches below normal, with the larger deficits (3-5 inches below normal) observed in parts of South Carolina, Georgia, and northern Florida. CPC's 30-day and 90-day temperature outlooks call for enhanced chances of above-normal temperatures, and mostly EC for precipitation. With the onset of the primary growing season and warmer temperatures comes increased evapo-transpiration (ET) and water demand. The last few runs of the deterministic GFS model suggest that the northernmost areas of the Southeast may experience some improvement or removal of long-term drought, though prospects are not as promising for southern portions of the region. In southern Florida, removal of drought is considered likely, as the climatological rainy season typically begins near the end of May and continues throughout the remainder of the AMJ season.

Confidence is considered low to moderate for the Southeast.

Across the Lower and Middle Mississippi Valley, precipitation deficits over the last 30-days (as depicted by ACIS data) generally range up to about 2 inches below normal, with up to 2-4 inch deficits in Louisiana and Mississippi. A surplus in precipitation (up to 2 inches) was noted in much of Arkansas. The CPC monthly and seasonal precipitation outlooks indicate elevated odds of above-median precipitation for much of the Lower Mississippi Valley, especially Louisiana and southern Mississippi. Predicted precipitation at time-scales out to a month in advance favor near- to above-median precipitation for the region. Drought improvement/removal is indicated for the area.

Confidence for the Lower Mississippi Valley is moderate, and confidence for the Middle Mississippi Valley is low.

For the Central Great Plains, precipitation deficits over the past month ranged from near 0-2 inches below normal. The Southern Great Plains were generally wetter, with much of the region depicting precipitation surpluses up to 2 inches, and between 3-5 inches over southern Texas. The Climate Prediction Center's Median Percent of Annual Precipitation for the Apr-May-Jun season shows the Great Plains typically receive 40-50 percent of its annual precipitation during these three months. The ACIS Percent of Normal Precipitation (PNP) maps depict a more serious drought picture for the northern Texas Panhandle, the Oklahoma Panhandle, and southwestern Kansas, where PNPs are easily within the lowest quartile of the historical distribution, and in some cases, within the lowest 5 percent. The April and AMJ precipitation outlooks from CPC extend the relative wet signal from the Lower Mississippi Valley westward to include the southeast third to one-half of Texas. All remaining areas are forecast as EC. Considering that the AMJ season encompasses the bulk of the severe weather season in the Central and Southern Plains, and that 40-50 percent of the annual precipitation is typically received during these three months, improvement/removal of drought is favored for the Lower Plains, and portions of the Central High Plains. Prospects for drought persistence are enhanced from central Colorado southeastward to western Oklahoma, while drought development is possible for far eastern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle.

Confidence for the Central and Southern Lower Plains is considered moderate; confidence for the Central and Southern High Plains is considered low.

Across the Northern Great Plains, there are several factors that support the removal of lingering drought, despite the long-term nature of the drought in this region. CPC's April and AMJ precipitation outlooks tilt the odds towards above-median precipitation for both time periods, and almost half of the annual precipitation that falls in this region tends to fall during the AMJ season. Though precipitation amounts for Week-1 are predicted to be light, CPC's 6-10 day, 8-14 day, and Weeks 3&4 precipitation forecasts predict increased odds of above-median precipitation.

Confidence for the Northern Great Plains is considered moderate to high.

The ACIS PNP map for the Southwest and California during the past 30-days shows a very spotty and highly localized precipitation anomaly pattern. With the wet season winding down across the West, climatology begins to favor increasing dryness. Massive improvements have occurred with the multi-year drought in California, thanks to precipitation amounts 2-3 times the seasonal norm, resulting in large part to a significant number of atmospheric river events (which tap into large quantities of subtropical moisture from the general direction of Hawaii). Most reservoirs have been recharged, though in southwestern portions of California there continues to be lingering groundwater and reservoir issues that may not be fully resolved before the end of this wet season. For California and the Southwest, drought persistence is indicated.

Confidence for the Southwest and California is considered moderate to high.

Residual drought remains in parts of the Big Island of Hawaii. Coming out of the winter wet season, odds favor persistence of drought throughout the spring season. There is no drought at this time across Alaska or Puerto Rico.

Confidence is considered moderate for Hawaii.

Forecaster: Anthony Artusa

Next Seasonal Outlook issued: April 20, 2017 at 8:30 AM EDT


“The reason I talk to myself is because I’m the only one whose answers I accept.” ~ George Carlin

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