Winter weather causing problems with Cache Valley agriculture

Extensive ground water from snowmelt and rain, combined with higher-than-normal levels flowing down the Bear River, have contributed to extensive flooding throughout Box Elder County in February.

The reservoirs are full or filling and, according to Clark Israelsen, Agricultural Agent for Utah State University Extension Service, that is probably the best thing you can say about the Cache Valley winter so far.

The cold weather that turned warm and caused all the trouble in recent weeks has been a real challenge for farmers and ranchers. Israelsen says there has been standing water everywhere, there has been a lot of flooding and property damage.

It’s calving and lambing season and he says it’s even been difficult for the animals to find a dry spot for that.

“Lots of our producers that had some winter wheat planted were happy that they got it in in a timely way last fall,” Israelsen explains. “We’re pretty sure they’ll have to replant winter wheat or any fall barley that was planted.

“Alfalfa is another plant that cannot take standing water. Where its dormant and cooler, it might be okay but we’re worried that a lot of those alfalfa stands will need to be replaced as well.”

And he says that can be very expensive. Israelsen says it is March now and some years farmers are out planting crops by this time, which they are doing in some parts of Utah.

In spite of the challenges, he says there is a lot in this area to be very grateful for.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!