Crop progress report 11/03: Unexpected cold snap in Washington


There were 5.0 days suitable for fieldwork in Washington last week, down from 6.2 days suitable the previous week.

Western Washington had cool and dry conditions. Fall field preparations and planting progressed. The saturated ground slowed harvest and mired some equipment. The sunny, dry days allowed some operators to plant cover crops and cut grass with a good wilt. Corn and potatoes were still in the field. The wet fall left some potatoes rotting in the field. Most corn froze prior to harvest. Some grain and seed crops were unharvested and lost due to flooding and too much rain.

San Juan County had foggy, frosty mornings. Fruit crops finished up. The frost in lower elevations knocked off leaves and came in for the final kill as winter approached.

Benton County had plunging temperatures with single digits rolling in at night. Producers had apples on trees and grapes on vines. Chelan and Douglas counties also had cold temperatures, but harvest was mostly completed in those counties. Due to the excess moisture, some late-seeded winter wheat was struggling to emerge. The pear and apple crops were smaller than average due to the early cold weather.

Yakima County had unseasonably cold temperatures. Nighttime temperatures dropped below freezing. Apple packinghouses were closing their doors to incoming fruit, and there were reports of late-maturing apples still left in the fields. Klickitat County was very cold and dry.

Franklin County had a mostly windless week with no precipitation. Apple harvest slowed and suffered from the extreme cold. Buckwheat was still combined. Some snow fell in parts of Lincoln County. Asotin and Garfield counties had warm afternoons, but freezing nights with temperatures in the single digits.

Washington crop conditions:

Winter wheat:
1% very poor
6% poor
26% fair
51% good
16% excellent

Washington crop progress:

Winter wheat planted:
96% this week
94% last week
97% last year
97% 5-year average

Winter wheat emerged:
78% this week
70% last week
78% last year
78% 5-year average

Alfalfa hay 4th cutting:
87% this week
84% last week
82% last year
95% 5-year average