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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

“We’ve had some timely rains in north central Texas, but it’s still falling well below what we should get this time of this year,” said Mark Fox, climatologist with the National Weather Service, Dallas/Ft. Worth region.

But considering it’s a La Niña year, precipitation has been “right on target” with what is expected, he said. However, a La Niña year also usually means a warmer-than-normal winter, and that has not been the case this year, Fox said.

There is a lot of conjecture as to what’s causing the colder than normal temperatures for a La Niña year, Fox said, but it’s just that – conjecture. But as far as the droughty winter, “we’ve seen this pattern many times before,” he said.

“The temperatures start to cool down out in the Pacific Ocean, and this gives us a lot less precipitation across Texas. Pretty much right now, it’s falling right in line with what we would see with a normal La Niña year.” Fox noted that precipitation patterns are already starting to return to normal. “We’re definitely going to be looking at a wetter pattern coming up March, April and May,” he said.

The Rolling Plains region remained extremely dry. Temperatures warmed up in the middle of the reporting period but cooled off at the end. The cotton harvest was completed with good yields and high prices reported. Many producers kept busy shredding stalks and plowing fields. Small-grain fields needed moisture. Despite the cold conditions, greenbug populations were building in some counties. Livestock were in fair to good condition as ranchers were providing supplemental feed daily and weaning calves earlier than usual, hoping to take some stress off mother cows. Stock-tank levels continued to drop. Wildfire danger was very high.


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