Grand Valley Wheat Thriving
KREX News Room
FRUITA, Colo. The forecast for wheat production in Colorado is not looking good, officials expect 1.5 million acres will be harvested out of the 2.2 million acres planted. If this forecast holds true, it would be the smallest harvested area for winter wheat in the state since 1965.
However, the gloomy forecast isn't true for the entire state. In the Grand Valley, wheat is thriving thanks to irrigation.
"Wheat crop in Colorado is a $600 million enterprise. And of course, if that's reduced, there's going to be less money to spill in to buy fuel, tractors and carry on a farm operation," said Calvin Pearson, professor and research agronomist with Western Colorado Research Center Fruita.
Whether it was due to frost or drought, some crops didn't make it at all. However, despite harsh conditions Grand Valley wheat went unscathed.
"The wheat is irrigated, so we don't anticipate any yield reductions. In fact, our wheat's looking really good," said Pearson.
Pearson was concerned going into the season, but he's changed his tune, "Most of all of our crops look really good, our hay looks good, all the agronomic crops look really good, I'm excited for it."
However, he and other farmers are well aware that their irrigated water is precious.
"We want to make sure that we use water properly and that we can maximize yields with the water we have."
They continue to experiment with water-saving technologies, understanding that in order to survive you must adapt.
Many local farmers will be harvesting their wheat this week. Some were delayed last week due to moisture, which they gladly welcomed.