drought

News
6:09 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Price Of Beef Impacted By Nation-Wide Drought

The price of beef hit an all-time record this quarter at $5.55 a pound—a full 25 cents higher than last year at this time.  Ann Wittmann, Director of the Wyoming Beef Council, says it’s a case of supply and demand.  A nation-wide drought has reduced herd sizes to the lowest they’ve been in 60 years and that is driving up the price for both consumers and producers.

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News
2:10 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Snowy Winter Brings Record Snowpack

Snowpack around the state is above average this year. Tony Bergantino, a climatologist with the Wyoming State Climate Office, says it’s the highest snowpack on record in five of Wyoming's basins. 

“They’re all above normal, and up in the upper northwest and southwest and in the central part of the state, they’re at the lowest,” se says. “And that’s still about 114-115 percent of normal.”

Bergantino says the snowy winter has brought most of the state out of drought conditions.  

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Open Spaces
4:07 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Ranchers produce more meat with fewer animals

Irina Zhorov

The U.S. cow herd is small right now because of the extended drought that’s plagued large swathes of the country. But though dry conditions have driven ranchers to sell off animals they would have otherwise kept, the decreasing size of the national herd is a trend decades in the making. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports on how livestock producers in Wyoming are turning out more meat with fewer animals.

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Crops
6:52 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Crop recovery is good news for cattle ranchers

Credit Stereogab / Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0

After last year’s crushing drought, wetter weather is helping crops recover, and prices are dropping.
 

US corn yields are up, according to IHS, Inc., a company that publishes stock market industry data. The company expects corn and soybean prices to drop by 10 percent in the third-quarter of this year.


Brett Moline of the Wyoming Farm Bureau says that means it’s cheaper for feed lots to finish more cattle, which is good news for cattle ranchers. 

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Colorado River
3:41 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Colorado Basin states cut back water flow to deal with low reservoir levels

Lake Powell Arizona, USA (from plane). Note the prominent "bathtub ring" made visible by low water (May 2007).
Credit PRA / Creative Commons

Twenty-thirteen marks the 14th year of the worst drought in the past century, so Colorado River Basin states are following 2007 agreement guidelines, and releasing less water from a major reservoir, Lake Powell.


Only 7.48 million acre feet will be released from Lake Powell next water year, down about 9% from normal levels. It’s the lowest release since the 1960s.   

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News
3:56 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Forage Field Day meant to help new hay growers

After a harrowing drought and a wet spring, Wyoming’s hay inventory is down and prices are holding steady.

Still, the forage market is a fickle industry, says Wyoming Business Council Crop and Forage Program Manager Donn Randall. He says hay values are not standardized the way other commodities are.

“It’s so subjective to the buyer’s preference,” Randall says. “Horse people, they want it green and leafy, and you know, dairy people, they have to have relatively high feed values.”

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Elk
6:28 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Study: Elk pregnancies unaffected by wolf presence

Credit ucumari / Creative Commons

A study by the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit shows that elk are not especially stressed out by the presence of wolves.

Pregnancy rates among migratory elk herds near Yellowstone have declined, and one theory was that wolves were harassing the elk – causing them to run and hide, and depriving them of grazing opportunities.

Arthur Middleton, the lead author on the report, says elk did move around somewhat to get away from wolves, but only when the wolves were within one kilometer away. And he says wolves only rarely came that close.

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Water waste
6:16 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Energy group says fracking water report is sensational

An energy group says a recently released report overstated issues of water use by the oil and gas industry. The Western Organization of Resource Councils released the report last month and said regulators need to consider the quantity of water the energy industry uses, in addition to the quality.

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snowpack
5:41 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Despite storms, Wyoming could still face summer water shortages

Credit Associated Press

Last year’s drought could impact the Wyoming water supply this summer.

The National Weather Service says that, although recent storms have helped replenish mountain snowpack, there might not be enough to get back to normal levels of runoff, which is state’s most common water source for crops and municipalities.

NWS Hydrologist Jim Fahey says that’s because the upper soil levels were parched by the drought and will likely absorb much of the runoff. Fahey says this could become especially problematic for some people during the summer months.

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News
6:29 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Wyoming could see another drought this summer

The National Weather Service says spring temperatures and precipitation should be near normal in Wyoming.

But Forecaster Paul Skrbac says that trend might not continue for the rest of the year.

“As we get into summer it looks like the odds increase that it’ll be a little warmer than normal,” Skrbac says, “and potentially a little dryer than normal.”

Skrbac says there’s still a chance that temperatures and precipitation could be average this summer, but it doesn’t look likely.

News
6:29 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Wyoming could see another drought this summer

The National Weather Service says spring temperatures and precipitation should be near normal in Wyoming.

But Forecaster Paul Skrbac says that trend might not continue for the rest of the year.

“As we get into summer it looks like the odds increase that it’ll be a little warmer than normal,” Skrbac says, “and potentially a little dryer than normal.”

Skrbac says there’s still a chance that temperatures and precipitation could be average this summer, but it doesn’t look likely.

News
6:29 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Wyoming could see another drought this summer

The National Weather Service says spring temperatures and precipitation should be near normal in Wyoming.

But Forecaster Paul Skrbac says that trend might not continue for the rest of the year.

“As we get into summer it looks like the odds increase that it’ll be a little warmer than normal,” Skrbac says, “and potentially a little dryer than normal.”

Skrbac says there’s still a chance that temperatures and precipitation could be average this summer, but it doesn’t look likely.

Open Spaces
4:09 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Another year of drought could spell disaster for ag community

Credit Photo courtesy the National Weather Service

Last year was the driest year Wyoming has seen in more than a century, and the dry spell has not let up. As a result, farmers and ranchers have had to make tough decisions and are deeply concerned about their livelihood for the coming year. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

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News
6:17 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Unseasonable weather equally likely to stay or go

This year has been unusually dry so far, and the National Weather Service says it’s not clear if – or when – that trend will change.

Meteorologist Trevor LaVoie says it’s equally likely that the next few months will be wetter than usual, drier than usual, or just average.

“There’s no el niño or there’s no la niña phase that’s currently in the outlook,” LaVoie said. “So there’s no signal to say one way or the other that we’re going to be above or below average.”

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News
5:14 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

2013 Snowpack Forecast Just Short of Average

Wyoming’s snowpack is roughly 20% lower than it was at this time last year. It’s currently at 83% of what is considered normal. But state water supply specialist Lee Hackleman says forecasts indicate that 2013 will be a “neutral year”, meaning we may end up with only slightly below average snowpack going into the summer.

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News
5:44 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

Most of Wyoming has severe drought

The U.S. Drought Monitor says extreme drought conditions now cover much of southern and eastern Wyoming after a dry August.
 
 The program's map shows all of Sweetwater, Laramie, Goshen, Platte and Niobrara counties are in an extreme drought, the fourth-worst out of five categories.
 
 Conditions in most of Converse and Weston counties and in parts of six other counties are also classified as extreme drought.
 
Most of the rest of the state is in a severe drought, the third-worst category.
 

Open Spaces
3:57 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

Drought, hay shortage mean tough economic times for Wyoming ag industry

The creeks that Orville Johnson’s cows would normally drink from are dry this year.
Willow Belden

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says this year’s hay crop will be the worst in decades, because of the drought. Hay is already in short supply, and prices have spiked. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports that the hay shortage is forcing ranchers to make tough choices and could have a lingering economic impact on the state’s ag industry.

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Open Spaces
3:24 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Drought Stunted Hay Crop Takes Heavy Toll On Ranchers

The drought this season has taken its toll on farmers growing hay. The U-S Department of Agriculture is predicting that Wyoming’s hay crop this year will be the worst since the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s. Platte County Extension Agent Dallas Mount joins us now to talk about that. He tells Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden the situation is ALREADY very bad.

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News
3:12 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Drought-induced hay shortage drives up prices

The USDA is predicting that this year’s hay crop will be the worst in decades because of the drought.

Platte County Extension Agent Dallas Mount says most Wyoming hay farmers are producing only half as much hay as usual, and some are producing none at all. He says that’s driving up prices.

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News
5:55 pm
Mon August 13, 2012

Wyoming facing worst hay crop in decades

New U.S. Agriculture Department estimates indicate Wyoming is facing one its worst hay harvests in terms of acreage in nearly 80 years.
 
Hay is Wyoming's biggest cash crop, and it also is the one suffering the most from a lack of rains earlier in the season.
 
USDA crop yield estimates released late last week project Wyoming's overall hay harvest this year to yield about 925,000 acres of hay.
 
If realized, that would make 2012 the single worst year for Wyoming hay acreage since the Dust Bowl days of 1934.
 

News
1:26 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Drought puts Wyoming in largest-ever natural disaster designation

The US Department of Agriculture has named more than 1,000 counties – about a third of all counties nationwide – to be natural disaster areas. The drought-driven designation is the largest the USDA has ever made.

In Wyoming, all but a small corner in the northwest part of the state is currently dry, with designations ranging from Abnormally Dry to Extreme Drought.  

Todd Even of the Farm Service Agency in Wyoming says that in some areas it’s estimated that more than fifty percent of range land or grass hay crop has been lost.

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News
7:23 am
Mon May 21, 2012

Riverton adopts drought plan

Concerns about possible water shortages have lead the Riverton City Council to adopt a drought plan and implement mild restrictions. Under the plan’s level green, there are no restrictions. The current yellow level asks residents to conserve water voluntarily. Voluntary water conservation measures include fixing leaks and avoiding watering lawns during the hottest parts of the day.

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News
8:41 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Dry weather could lead to hay shortage

The Natural Resources Conservation Service is warning that the warm, dry weather this spring could drive up winter hay prices.

Wyoming’s snowpack is less than 30 percent of average, and Water Supply Specialist Lee Hackleman says farmers who get their water by diverting streams and rivers will be left high and dry.

“There’ll be a lot of people who will probably get their first cutting irrigated but won’t have any water for their second cutting,”
Hackleman said. “So there’s liable to be a hay shortage again this winter.”

News
6:39 pm
Mon April 23, 2012

Wyoming could be headed for a drought

Water specialists at the Natural Resources Conservation Service say that snowpack throughout the state is well below what’s average at this time of year. The northwest corner of the state is closest to what’s considered normal, but the state-wide average is 54 percent of that.

Water specialist for the NRCS, Lee Hackleman, says this could mean drought. 

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