Water Ahead For Many Colorado Hay Growers

Mar 11, 2014

A hefty snowpack in most parts of Colorado heading into spring is good news for state hay growers, says Tess Norvell, reporter with USDA-Colorado Department of Agriculture Market News in Greeley.

“We’ll get river run-off and the reservoirs will be filled up,” she says. “It looks like we’re going to have enough irrigation water this year.”

Statewide, the mountain snowpack averaged 111% of normal as of late February. That’s a marked turnaround from last year’s level, which was just 74% of normal. The prime alfalfa-growing regions in the state, the South Platte River Valley and the Arkansas River Valley, had snowpack levels of 145% and 100%, respectively.

However, a few areas in southern Colorado show below-average precipitation for the current water year that began last October, according to a recent report from the state’s Water Availability Task Force.

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