Utah dust storm caused multiple vehicle crash, eight deaths

1 day 22 hours ago
A dust storm on July 25 caused low visibility on I-15 in Millard County in central Utah, causing a crash that involved at least 20 vehicles. Eight people died, and at least ten others were injured. The area is in exceptional drought. Deseret News (Salt Lake City, Utah), July 26, 2021

Gold Rush town ruins visible in Folsom Lake, California

1 day 22 hours ago
Folsom Lake has become so low that ruins of Gold Rush towns were again visible. Remnants of Salmon Falls, Red Banks and Mormon Island were on dry land, revealing more artifacts by the day as the water continued to recede. Los Angeles Times (Calif.), July 27, 2021

Water supplied for bighorn sheep on Antelope Island in Utah

1 day 22 hours ago
As the water level of Great Salt Lake falls, the springs on Antelope Island were slowing and one spring went dry. To make sure bighorn sheep on the island have enough water, wildlife biologists will fly in water for the sheep. The island’s other inhabitants, bison and pronghorn antelope, saw their drinking water and forage reduced too. Drought reduced the survival of antelope fawn this year. Daily Herald (Provo, Utah), July 28, 2021

Uptick in cockroach infestations in Placer, Sacramento counties in California

1 day 22 hours ago
Heat and drought were stressing cockroaches, leading to more infestations in South Placer County towns to Sacramento. Those in the pest control industry saw this trend begin months ago with new clients needing help with the insects. Urban areas seem to be harder hit than rural locales. One Granite Bay resident noted that his backyard appeared as if it were moving at night from all of the “creepy crawlies.” The Sacramento Bee (Calif.), July 26, 2021

Fire restrictions in numerous Minnesota counties

2 days ago
Extreme drought in northern Minnesota was creating the most dangerous fire season in decades as more than 1,500 fires blackened more than 34,000 acres since March. Burning restrictions were in effect for the eastern portion of Roseau County and all of Beltrami, Cass, Cook, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, Lake, Morrison, St. Louis, Todd and Wadena counties. Starting at midnight Tuesday, Aitkin, Becker, Benton, Carlton, Clearwater, Mahnomen and Stearns counties will be under burning restrictions as well. WCCO-TV CBS 4 (Minneapolis, Minn.), July 26, 2021

Trucking regulations waived for hauling hay in Minnesota

2 days 2 hours ago
Governor Tim Walz of Minnesota waived trucking regulations for livestock producers hauling hay and other forage. Drought reduced the state’s harvestable hay by about 10,000 acres, leaving many farmers and ranchers bringing in hay and other forage from greater distances. KNOX-AM (Grand Forks, N.D.), July 29, 2021

North Dakota wheat yields diminished by drought

2 days 3 hours ago
Drought hurt spring wheat production potential in parts of North Dakota, according to day one of the Wheat Quality Council’s annual tour. In southern and east-central parts of the state, the average yield was 29.5 bushels per acre in 100 field stops on July 27, compared to 45.6 bpa in 2019. The tour was canceled in 2020, due to the pandemic. Agriculture.com (Des Moines, Iowa), July 27, 2021

No pollen, nectar for bees in Routt County, Colorado

2 days 3 hours ago
Flowers in northwest Colorado do not have enough moisture to produce the pollen and nectar that bees need to produce honey, which may leave the bees with insufficient honey to make it through the winter. The hives are not producing drones for some reason. Beekeepers were expecting to lose bees over the winter. Steamboat Pilot & Today (Colo.), July 23, 2021

Dry pastures, cattle sales in Washington, Oregon

2 days 3 hours ago
Drought and heat dried up pastures early in southeast Washington and northeast Oregon. Hay prices are high, as drought and heat diminished production, leaving ranchers worried about feeding cattle and opting to sell livestock. Water supplies from rivers and streams were also less plentiful and dried up six weeks early. Alfalfa growth was slowed by heat. Large hay bales were selling for about $210 per ton, stated a Walla Walla Valley hay grower, up 20% compared to other years. Walla Walla Union-Bulletin (Wash.), July 27, 2021

California ranchers liquidate herds

2 days 4 hours ago
California’s dairy farmers and beef-cattle producers were struggling to find feed for their livestock, but it is so expensive, that even if feed can even be found, profits on the livestock were dwindling, leading to cattle liquidation. The Sacramento Bee (Calif.), July 29, 2021

Junior water users to be curtailed if not part of a mitigation plan in Idaho

2 days 4 hours ago
The Idaho Department of Water Resources announced that junior groundwater users would be curtailed if they were not a part of a mitigation plan. An updated prediction warned of a shortfall among senior priority surface water users in the Eastern Snake River Plain who were thought to be 170,500 acre-feet short, according to the director of IDWR. The shortfall will force the curtailment of more than 500 water rights that have priority dates later than June 14, 1977 that are not in compliance. MagicValley.com (Idaho Falls, Idaho), July 22, 2021

Burning yard waste banned in Bemidji, Minnesota

2 days 16 hours ago
Extreme drought in northern Minnesota was creating the most dangerous fire season in decades as more than 1,500 fires blackened more than 34,000 acres since March. In Bemidji, burning yard waste was prohibited, as was lighting legal fireworks or using a campfire outside of an established fire ring. Bemidji firefighters were responding to more grass fires than usual. WCCO-TV CBS 4 (Minneapolis, Minn.), July 26, 2021

Busy fire season in Minnesota

2 days 16 hours ago
Extreme drought in northern Minnesota was creating the most dangerous fire season in decades as more than 1,500 fires blackened more than 34,000 acres since March. WCCO-TV CBS 4 (Minneapolis, Minn.), July 26, 2021 More than 1,400 fires in Minnesota have burned about 35,000 acres since March. KMXK-FM (St. Cloud, Minn.), July 2, 2021 Spring is typically the busiest time for fires in Minnesota, but dry conditions led to an earlier start to grass fire season with 10 blazes occurring already. Fall was dry and winter brought below-average snowfall. Minneapolis Star Tribune (Minn.), March 25, 2021

Maui cattle competing with axis deer for grass in Hawaii

2 days 20 hours ago
Parts of Maui were in extreme drought, meaning grass was not abundant, and axis deer were competing with cattle for the grass. With grass drying up and forage getting short, nearly 30% of a rancher’s cattle were sold. With the deer outnumbering cattle by a long way, it’s a losing battle. Hawaii News Now (Honolulu, Hawaii), July 28, 2021

Small ranchers struggling to feed herd, resorting to selling livestock

2 days 21 hours ago
Drought, intense heat and a shortage of water has left many small ranchers unable to afford feed for their livestock, making sales inevitable. The irrigation season in southwest Idaho was shortened from about 140 days down to 27. Hay growers in Idaho’s Magic Valley got only one cutting of hay rather than three, causing feed prices to rise. A western Colorado rancher was dealing with similar challenges, forcing her to slowly sell cattle. Hay production was 60% of normal, so she bought hay from Kansas. Time (New York), July 29, 2021

Drought dried up Montana crops, then the grasshoppers came

2 days 21 hours ago
These are lean times for northern Montana ranchers in need of feed for their cattle for the coming winter. This drought was the worst in at least 30 years, and on top of that, grasshoppers came and devoured crops, leaving short stems poking out of the ground. The insects even cleaned the leaves off of trees and shrubs. Billings Gazette (Mont.), July 28, 2021

North Dakota wheat stand uneven, short feed supplies, drying water holes

2 days 22 hours ago
Crops were struggling for lack of rain in North Dakota near the Canadian border. Wheat stands were uneven—some fields have headed out, while others were just starting. Some wheat was beginning to go from green to gold. Some of the wheat heads were half the usual size or deformed. Pastures were dry, and forage yields were drastically reduced, leaving ranchers worried about feed. Water holes were drying up. Some of the remaining ones had blue-green algae, which is toxic to cattle. Bees did not pollinate the canola field for lack of water. Agweek (Fargo, N.D.), July 28, 2021

Livestock sales up in Mandan, North Dakota

2 days 23 hours ago
Excessive heat on top of drought has worsened the situation for North Dakota ranchers. Hay was in short supply, feed was expensive, and pastures were deteriorating. Kist Livestock has sold 30% more livestock at their auctions this year, compared to previous years. They have also held two sales per week to keep up for the past three and a half months, and still have plenty of ranchers needing to sell livestock. The heat led ranchers to sell a quarter of their herds, but many were leaning toward selling half at present. Part of the challenge is that farmers and ranchers were just getting over the 2017, so another one so soon was difficult to weather. KFYR Your News Leader (Bismarck, N.D.), July 28, 2021

Crops stunted, hay production down in Mille Lacs County, Minnesota

2 days 23 hours ago
Drought was stunting the growth of corn and soybean plants. Small grains like wheat and barley had reduced yields, according to the county executive director. This being a critical time for corn and soybean reproduction, the crops need water and less stress from heat, or the yield potential can be lost. A grain grower west of Princeton expects a below average yield, ranging from maybe 100 or less up to 140 bushels per acre, depending on when the drought breaks. The quality may suffer anyway. Hay production was down. The first cutting was normal, but the second one was short. A dairy farmer near Onamia said his haylage harvest was down one-third, leading him to harvest hay from a swamp just to have something to feed his cattle, knowing that it will lack the proper nutrients for young cattle growth. Some were having to take cattle off of pasture, due to drought, and will have to begin feeding the livestock or sell some of the herd. Coon Rapids Union-Times (Minn.), July 29, 2021
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