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HELENA (AP) — Despite field work delays because of rain and snow in large parts of Montana, the farm picture is considerably brighter than last year at this time, the Montana Crop and Livestock Reporting Service says in its weekly summary.

There were only 1.2 days suitable for field work last week, but topsoil moisture conditions are now 95 percent adequate or surplus, and subsoil moisture has improved to 65 percent adequate or surplus, with just 35 percent rated short to very short. In both caseses, moisture levels are well ahead of last year, the weekly report said.

However, there still are concerns about how long it will take to recharge subsoil moisture levels to near or above normal levels.

Most planting also was ahead of last year, with sugar beets 98 percent planted by the end of last week.

Barley was 61 percent planted; corn 43 percent; oats 36 percent and spring wheat 61 percent — all ahead of last year's pace, except for oats.

The report said the winter wheat crop also was rated 75 percent good to excellent, far ahead of last year, although there have been reports of wheat streak mosaic showing in some Golden Triangle fields, the report said.

Livestock grazing was rated 91 percent open, but about half the cattle and sheep were still receiving some supplemental feed. The report said range and pasture conditions were rated 53 percent good to excellent, higher than the previous week's rating and well ahead of last year.

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