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The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

Lots of Winter Left

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

We’ve come to that time of year that, whenever a couple of producers get together, the conversation turns to the weather. That is, unless one of them has Dish TV.
    In some areas of Wyoming Dish hasn’t carried local networks for the last month and, this being the end of football season (my wife would say it never ends), that is not going over well with some. However, productivity has really shot up around the state on Saturdays and Sundays.
    The main topics with most are livestock prices, the weather, Dish TV and those we always talk about – the high cost of fuel and feed and simply doing business, from tires to seed to fertilizer and on and on. Same ol’, same ol’ story, isn’t it?
    If you listen to the weather guy Don Day every morning you can get a pretty good education on the weather and understand what’s happening, or what should happen. I think I’ve heard Don Day say he only has to be right 50 percent of the time. He is better than that, but it is job security for the forecasters. We know so much more about the weather now, and to find out the temperatures and wind velocity at any place in the state all we have to do is go to the computer.
    We all know last year’s harsh winter was caused by a strong La Nina condition along the equator in the Pacific Ocean. Last year the equatorial sea surface temperatures were nearly three degrees Celsius below normal, and that’s what they say caused all of the snow in the northern states that led to the record flooding we’ll not forget for some time.
    This year they say the average temperature is only 1.5 degrees Celsius below normal, a difference of only 1.5 degrees from last year, but just look at the differences between the two. I know the area in the Pacific we’re talking about is huge, but it is still only 1.5 degrees difference. The difference in the cost of managing snow amounts last year at this time compared to this year must be millions of dollars.  
    Then figure in the cost of the drought of the Corn Belt and southwestern states last year and it’s mind-boggling. They say this winter will be similar to last year, but not to the extremes we had then, and so far the prediction has proven true. They do say the Northern Rockies should see more snow in the spring and it should stay dry in the western Corn Belt. Eastern South Dakota has not had much of any precipitation at all this winter – in fact, they are on the U.S. Drought Map at the present time because of those conditions.
    When you look at the temperature tomorrow morning, see how small 1.5 degrees is and think how much money it has cost us. The good part is that all the snow and spring runoff last spring helped raise a big hay crop, which is something we all needed. I know the flooding didn’t help, but we always need hay, corn and plenty of green grass.           

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