|Montana's 2000 Drought/Fire Survey Results
| Released: September 21, 2000
For more information contact: us at 1-800-835-2612.
|Montana Agricultural Statistics Service conducted a
Drought and Fire Impact Survey at the request of Montana Department of
Agriculture to assess the impact of this year's drought on farmers and
ranchers across Montana. The survey determined that 84 percent of producers
were adversely impacted by drought, while 16 percent of producers indicated
they were not directly impacted by drought. All of the producers responding
to the survey in Golden Valley, Petroleum, Pondera and Wheatland counties
indicated they were adversely affected by drought. Approximately 95 percent
of all producers reporting in the North Central, Central and South Central
districts of the state reported that they were adversely affected by drought.
Seventy-four percent of producers in the northwest district, 81 percent
in the southwest district, 85 percent in the south central district and
58 percent in the northeast district reported they were adversely effected.
Very few producers in Daniels county reported being adversely affected
by drought. A Golden Valley producers wrote, "We have never experienced
such drought conditions of this magnitude. Creeks have completely dried
up and some wells have quit. What a wreck!"|
As of September first, 32 percent of ranchers reporting on the survey had to haul water for livestock for an average of 63 days for an average cost per day of $30. Many producers reported that if conditions do not improve, they will have to continue to haul water for livestock throughout the winter. Seven percent of operators had to haul water for households for an average of 57 days for an average cost of $9 per day. Because of drought many operators have had to drill wells and improve springs. Four percent of agricultural operators have had to drill new wells for household use at an average cost of $4,758. Twelve percent of ranchers and farmers have had to drill new wells for livestock and irrigation and 23 percent of producers reporting improved or developed springs for livestock.
Shortages of feed and water have left producers with choices of whether:
1. To ship livestock to alternate locations with better feed and water sources
Forty-two percent of ranchers reporting indicated that they have changed their marketing strategy because of the drought by reducing cattle and calf numbers by 17 percent, beef cow numbers by 14 percent, sheep and lamb numbers by 32 percent and equine numbers by 12 percent.
Farmers reported that drought reduced their irrigated alfalfa hay production by 39 percent, non irrigated alfalfa hay production by 82 percent, grain hay production by 41 percent, and wild hay production by 62 percent. The survey showed that hay production in Montana is comparable to 1988 hay production. Pasture and range conditions are also comparable to 1988. As of September 17, topsoil moisture was 98 percent short to very short and 2 percent adequate with subsoil moisture at 97 percent short to very short and 3 percent adequate.
The survey indicated that 5 percent of ranchers and farmers were impacted by fire, with 1.5 percent not sure if they had been impacted and 93.5 percent not impacted.
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