It’s too early to tell yet just how much damage last week’s mini-cold snap did to the alfalfa crop in parts of North Dakota, says Jackie Buckley, ag agent for North Dakota State University Extension in Morton County.

Nighttime temperatures in the Bismarck area dipped to as low as 13 degrees several nights. To the southwest, temps as low as nine degrees were reported. “It was definitely cold enough to do some damage,” says Buckley.

Prior to last week, extremely mild temperatures had the alfalfa crop in much of the region developing at a faster-than-normal clip. “A lot of our alfalfa is already 3-4” tall. Normally at this time of year, it would barely be growing.”

A dry spring is also a major concern in many areas of the state. “We didn’t get a lot of snowfall this winter,” says Buckley. “In some areas, we’ve only had 1” of total precipitation since Jan. 1. For the most part, we have good subsoil moisture, but no topsoil moisture whatsoever.”

Scattered rain showers at the end of last week were welcome, but more rain is needed. “We could really use a good two- or three-day soaker.” To contact Buckley, call 701-667-3340 or email