Montana Grain Growers Crop Survey Offers Farmer Insight


Great Falls, MT – As another growing season begins, so too does the Montana Grain Growers Association annual crop survey. Featuring weekly reports from growers, our survey is an informal look at crop progress across Montana. Participating farmers describe conditions in their area and share the challenges they are facing in producing this year’s crop. Their comments are posted each Tuesday morning throughout the growing season on Montana Market Manager Online.

While this survey is not conducted scientifically, it does provide valuable insight from Montana farmers. “The difference between our survey and the weekly Montana Ag Statistics Crop Progress report is the personal comments,” said MGGA Executive Vice President Lola Raska. “Reading the weekly results of this survey is more like sitting down and talking to a neighbor about his crop. The personal insights make an important difference.”

Continuing through harvest, the survey provides first-hand information to other producers, extension agents, business leaders, policy makers, and the media.

Below are the reports from producers across the state for the first week of May.


Chouteau County – Lochiel Edwards
Earlier winter wheat is taking off; later seedings are still finding their legs. Winterkill was minimal, and I anticipate no re-seeding. Wind has been prevalent the last 4 months, and, true to the farmer stereotype, we could use a rain. Spring grain seeding is estimated at 70% done in my area. My spring wheat is planted, and a half inch of moisture would make me look like a planting genius. SF moisture profiles are good, re-crop profiles less so. Feeling like a dry spring, in spite of unsettled weather. Moisture conditions are good receiving .01 of precipitation in the past week. Crops being grown are winter wheat and spring wheat. Lots of small, black spiders, the likes of which I’ve not seen before. Assuming spiders are a good thing, but don’t know what these eat. Weeds showing up are cheat and mustards, my familiar companions. Too early to tell on diseases, but I’ll say there’s no snow mold.


Chouteau County – Nathan Keane
Winter wheat is at the three-leaf stage and is looking good. Our barley has recently showed itself since putting it in the ground on April 20th. We have finished seeding our barley, mustard and chickpeas. We have spring wheat and hemp left to go. Moisture is good but it’s drying up quickly. We have been missed by the last set of rain showers coming through. Crops being grown are winter wheat, spring wheat, barley, garbanzos, canola, mustard, hemp and hay. Weed problems are tansy mustard, prickly lettuce and cheat grass.


Fergus County – Boyd Heilig
Finished seeding last Monday. Conditions were very good. Winter wheat is having a slow start. First spring wheat is out of the ground. Moisture conditions are good receiving .4 of precipitation in the past week. Crops being grown are winter wheat and spring wheat.


Hill County – Trevor Wolery
Residents of Goldstone have been practicing social distancing since 1925. Spring conditions are phenomenal when compared to last spring. Planting is two-thirds finished and wind has been the devil the last two weeks. HRW and chem fallow both look healthy. Moisture conditions are excellent receiving .1 of precipitation in the past week. Crops being grown are winter wheat, spring wheat and lentils.


Judith Basin County – Greg Mathews
What a spring. Still fighting the mud from last fall. The ground was so cold that grain is taking a month to come out of the ground. With the cold ground the cheat and weeds were slow to come. Winter wheat looks frail and spindly. Hopefully will look better with the warm temps. Just got bad news from Malteurop that they have delayed taking any more malt barley till fall or next year and this year’s crop maybe not until 2021 or 2022 at the earliest. Finished seeding on April 30. Still quite a few still seeding. Most top dressing of winter wheat is about done and some of the spring crops as well. Hay is slow to green up and I expect to see a big jump this next week. Still see people getting stuck in the fields. The wet spots just will not dry out. Did not get much rain this last week but east and north and south did. Moore got over a half inch in two storms. Hope all are doing well and staying healthy. Have a great spring. Moisture conditions are excellent with .04 of precipitation in the past week. Crops being grown are winter wheat, barley and hay. Just the usual cheat, fanweed, volunteer grain and mustards for weed problems.


Northern Yellowstone County – Michelle Jones
The winter wheat continues to look really good – we’ll be spraying it early this week. The wind does continue to dry out the area, we’re seeing significant evaporation and drying in areas that have been wet the past few years. Most of the area is done seeding spring wheat, barley and safflower. The late spring crops won’t be seeded for a few more weeks. We still have corn left to seed. Sprayers are busy in the area. Alfalfa has been sprayed and many are transitioning to spraying Beyond. Moisture conditions are good with 0 precipitation in the past week. Crops being grown are winter wheat, spring wheat, safflower, corn, hay and barley.


Teton County – Mitch Konen
The last two weeks have been a bee hive of activity here on the bench, with most of the acres being drilled this last week. Last week summer showed up and really warmed things up. Temps were near 80 for a couple days. The grass has really taken off, and the first stuff seeded is emerging. Several neighbors have finished their seeding chores while I have about 50% remaining. I should be done by the end of this week. Moisture conditions are excellent receiving 0 precipitation in the past week. Crops being grown are winter wheat, spring wheat, barley, canola and hay.

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