Drought, wind impacting ag across the state

Photo by Mechel Meek Dry and windy conditions are impacting all aspects of planting this year, not just in the San Luis Valley but throughout Colorado, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

SAN LUIS VALLEY — Dry and windy conditions are impacting all aspects of planting this year, not just in the San Luis Valley but throughout Colorado, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Windy conditions, minimal moisture, and above-average temperatures were seen across most of the State last week, according to the USDA Mountain Region Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 89 percent of Colorado is under drought conditions, up 2 percentage points from the previous week.

Forty-eight percent of Colorado is experiencing severe to exceptional drought conditions, up 15 percentage points from the previous week.

Extreme drought conditions are affecting 4 percent of Colorado, unchanged from the previous week.

In northeastern and east central counties, a couple of small rain events helped crop conditions slightly, but overall conditions remained dry.

Strong winds continued, topping off around 50 mph toward the end of the week.

In the San Luis Valley, potato planting continues, and barley planting was almost complete throughout the Valley. The recent windy conditions and blowing dust hampered most planting operations.

As of May 1, the amount of snowpack in Colorado was 76 percent, down 6 percentage points from the previous week with the San Luis Valley at 35 percent with the local higher temperatures contributing to snowmelt in the surrounding mountains.

The field reports indicated that 19 percent of the potato crops were planted as of May 1, which is lower than the reported amount last year of 26 percent and the five-year average of 24 percent.

Reports indicated that barley crops have been planted at 70 percent as of May 1, down from last year’s report of 80 percent and the five-year average of 83 percent.

The emergence rate of the barley crop stands at 25 percent as of May 1, significantly lower than last year’s 51 percent and the five-year average of 43 percent.

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