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Snow cover good for alfalfa, wheat in N. Dakota

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Snow cover in North Dakota is good news for alfalfa and wheat growers
Snow cover in North Dakota is good news for alfalfa and wheat growers

Although heavy snowfalls in North Dakota may not be welcomed by ranchers in the state, the covering is good news for the state's alfalfa and winter wheat crops, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A USDA report rates the alfalfa cover as 41 percent adequate and 58 percent excellent, compared to 43 percent adequate and 56 percent excellent for winter wheat in the state.

However, many expect to wait until spring to finish corn harvesting because of weather conditions.

But the report from the USDA says the snow cover, which is at its highest average level since 1997 at 17 inches, has been bad news for ranchers who have had to use winter feed supplies earlier than expected.

The snow cover is in drastic contrast to one year ago when it averaged 3.2 inches.

Last year was a record year for North Dakota with the USDA expecting the state to bring in 269 million bushels of corn and 224 million bushels of wheat. However falling prices toward the end of the year caused many to struggle.

"As we started out the year, I think there was a lot of optimism and hope," Wade Moser, of the North Dakota Stockmen's Association told the Associated Press. "All of a sudden when the economy went in the tubes, it drug us all down."ADNFCR-2034-ID-18959390-ADNFCR

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