Late rains pull much of Montana from severe drought

There’s a week left in June and already many Montana farmers are done worrying about the rain. For Brett Nedens, outside of Hardin, that’s a good thing, but for Collen Pegar and farmers up north in Hill County, it couldn’t be worse.

Four months ago, Nedens and Pegar both were staring down the barrel of severe to extreme drought, with 85% of the state appearing headed for crop failure if things didn’t turn around. Drought conditions did turn around for Nedens. Hardin has now received more precipitation than it did in all of 2021, according to federal weather data. A full 56% of Montana is currently normal to abnormally dry. The thick, dark green stands of winter wheat in Nedens’ southeast Montana region come at a time when drought and war have sparked a global grain shortage. Winter wheat futures prices for September delivery hover around $10 a bushel range, a rare double digit showing. 

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“Our crop is made,” Nedens said Thursday. “I don’t think another inch of rain would mean more bushels at this point.” A little more heat to bring his sugar beets along, a few

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