* Moisture welcome but more is needed
* Rain and snow falling in hard red winter wheat region
* No signs of cold weather damage to U.S. crops
By Sam Nelson
Feb 13 Crop-friendly rainfall and snow were
moving across drought-stricken areas of the U.S. Plains hard red
winter wheat region at mid-week, providing much-needed relief
ahead of the growing season for the 2013 crop, an agricultural
meteorologist said on Wednesday.
"Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado now have the chance for two
shower events over the next two weeks that would offer some
improvement in topsoil moisture," said Commodity Weather Group
(CWG) meteorologist Joel Widenor.
He said rain and snow continued across Oklahoma and Texas on
Tuesday, with amounts up to half an inch. Heavy rains continued
in parts of cotton and soft red winter wheat areas in Georgia
and Alabama, and more rain is expected over the next two weeks.
CWG said there were no signs of winter cold weather harm to
"The coldest weather occurs this weekend for Florida citrus
and at the end of the 10-day forecast period for Plains wheat,
but damage risks are low, Widenor said.
A modest improvement is expected in the Drought Monitor
report due to be released on Thursday. Last Thursday, the weekly
report showed harsh drought conditions had expanded in key U.S.
farm states in the nation's midsection.
The weekly analysis of drought conditions is put together by
a consortium of state and federal climate experts.
The Plains states are key crop production areas,
particularly for hard red winter wheat, an important
bread-making crop. They are also critical areas for cattle and
other livestock production.
(Additional reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City; editing
by John Wallace)