After last year's extremely dry conditions across the Black Hills, many ranchers had to bring in hay from out of the area.
This spring has brought above average moisture, and optimism among ranchers that this year will be better than last. Even with the moisture surplus so far this year and grasses becoming green, more is needed to yield a good hay crop come this summer.
Lone Tree Ranch Owner Larry Reinhold says, "Our subsoil moisture is desperately short, and so our runoff in the dams are really low. We really need probably the equivalent of three or four inches here pretty soon in my opinion, or else the hay crop is going to be really short again."
So far this year in Rapid City, rainfall is just one tenth of an inch above average, but the timing has been good, with the majority falling in March and April.