So far this spring, pasture and rangeland conditions are very green and lush in most areas, U.S. Department of Agriculture chief meteorologist Brad Rippey reported this week. According to the latest data, 63% of U.S. rangeland and pasture is currently rated in good/excellent condition, while just 7% is in very poor/poor condition. Last year, he said the U.S. was looking at 43% in good/excellent condition and 20% in very poor/poor condition.
Drought has been the culprit for the very poor/poor rating in recent years, but this year, excessive precipitation in the North has mostly contributed to the percentage, although there is some lingering drought in the South.
“In the far north, we have lack of green-up due to excessive wetness and cool conditions, so just 22% very poor/poor in Wisconsin [and] 23% in Maine. That should improve once we get warmer and drier weather,” he said.
Overall, the U.S. seems to be in good shape. Rippey reported that anywhere from 60% to 84% of pasture and rangeland is rated good/excellent, stretching all the way from California to the East Coast states of Pennsylvania, the Carolinas and into Georgia, as well as many states in between.
Rippey concluded that there is “plenty of grass for livestock and other animals out there this spring.”
The U.S. Drought Monitor Map also is showing significant improvements from last year. As of May 14, only 8.84% of the U.S. is in some form of drought, compared to 45.64% on May 15, 2018.