Crop progress 01/20: January brings much needed moisture to state


Western Washington precipitation was well above average in January. Repeated storms really helped the snowpack levels in both the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges. Wet conditions and standing water were reported throughout western Washington. Some producers in western Washington were concerned that the colder temperatures and snow in mid-January may have affected fall-planted crops. Unusually cold temperatures and lowland snow also concerned cranberry and blueberry growers. January weather conditions around Snohomish County created multiple flooding situations along Stillaguamish, Skokomish and Snoqualmie rivers. In San Juan County, water was flowing seasonally high due to saturated layers of soil. Small streams and the larger watersheds were filling fast. Many ponds were already full. Livestock farmers brought out the stock tank heaters and added a bit more feed to the daily rations. Farms with orchards pruned during lulls in the weather.

In central Washington, the Okanogan Valley experienced cold temperatures, snow and high winds the second week in January. Later in the month, warmer temperatures brought rain and melting snow. This caused some runoff and ponding. The crop-producing areas of Yakima County got a little over one inch of precipitation during eight rain and snow events in January. Throughout the month, the low temperature dropped into single digits only once on Jan. 17. No crop damage was reported.

In the northeast region, Stevens County received approximately 13 inches of snow. Fall-planted crops did well.

In east central Washington, winter wheat condition was normal. It was too early to assess whether the cold temperatures in early January adversely affected any exposed wheat not protected by snow.

In southeast Washington, the January weather was mostly favorable for farmers and ranchers in Whitman County. November was very dry, but December and January brought much needed moisture and mild temperatures. The winter wheat stands throughout the county looked good. The late seeded fields had emerged. Recent rains helped subsoil moisture replenishment. The rangeland conditions in Whitman County also looked good.