Western Hay Growers Wait On Water Availability

Mar 25, 2014

The U.S. Drought Monitor map for the Western U.S., released March 20, did little to ease many regional hay growers’ concerns whether they’ll have enough water during the upcoming growing season.

Nearly all of California is experiencing drought, with just more than two-thirds of the state falling into the severe or exceptional drought categories, the map shows. Large pockets of Nevada and New Mexico also are in severe and exceptional drought.

The U.S. Drought Monitor Map was released March 20.

Predictions that the drought would persist or intensify in those three states as well as in parts of Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas were made in the Spring Outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), also released March 20. If that comes to pass, “it will likely result in an active wildfire season, continued stress on crops and livestock due to low water levels and an expansion of water conservation measures,” according to an NOAA press release.

The drought monitor map, however, did offer a few bright spots. March rain and mountain snowfall in the Cascades brought some relief to parts of Oregon and Washington. Recent heavy snow also eased moderate drought conditions in southern Idaho.

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