Wet spring has taken its toll on Northern Utah farmers

Recent weeks of wet and muddy weather have taken a serious toll on agriculture in Cache Valley. Utah State Extension Agricultural Agent Clark Israelsen says farmers should be planting their corn starting next week, but it’s so we they can’t get on the fields for at least two weeks, even if the sun shines.

“We have probably lost half of the alfalfa in Cache Valley,” says Israelsen. “It simply drowned. There has been so much water for so long. Alfalfa has a deep tap root.

“It has to breath just like we do. After several weeks of exceptionally wet conditions, lots of the alfalfa is dead and gone, or at least in decline.”

The spring wheat and barley are usually planted by now but Israelsen says the farmers can’t even get on the field. She says you can’t find a dry spot anywhere.

However, always the optimist, Israelsen says at least farmers are pleased that the reservoirs are full and with snowpack in the hills there will be plenty of irrigation water this summer, even though there may not be many crops to use it on.

It has been a very expensive year for the agricultural community and a whole change of life for several weeks. One cattleman told Israelsen he hadn’t had his truck out of four-wheel drive since November. Israelsen also says several farms have lost a fair number of young livestock as they have had a difficult time dealing with the constant wet conditions.

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