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Published June 01, 2010, 10:13 AM

N. Colorado farmers tally losses from storms

GREELEY, Colo. — Farmers in northern Colorado are tallying the losses from recent thunderstorms and tornadoes that tore through the eastern plains.

GREELEY, Colo. — Farmers in northern Colorado are tallying the losses from recent thunderstorms and tornadoes that tore through the eastern plains.

Storms that spawned golf ball-size and baseball-size hail in the Denver area Wednesday unleashed hail, rain and high winds over northern Colorado, home to some of the state’s most productive agricultural land. Tornadoes were reported and heavy rains flooded fields and roads.

The owner of a dairy northeast of Fort Collins estimates the storm did about $190,000 dam-age to his property. Homer Dye, owner of Dyecrest Dairy, says he lost two cow shelters and 150 calf shelters were blown over.

But Dye said he didn’t lose any animals.

Bob Sakata of Sakata Farms in Brighton says he lost 360 acres of sweet corn, onions and cabbage in fields in one storm Wednesday in southeast Weld County. Later that night, an-other storm hit another part of Weld County where he grows cabbage, broccoli and onions.

“All the fields in Hudson are gone,” Sakata said.

The fields were covered with 4 to 6 inches of hail, Sakata said, and water was still pouring off them Thursday.

Some area sugar beet crops were damaged, said Mike Otto, senior agriculturist with the Western Sugar Cooperative.

About 3,000 acres of beets in Colorado have already been replanted due to soil crusting as a result of this spring’s heavy rains and winds, Otto said. In western Nebraska, about 40 per-cent of the crop had to be replanted after a late spring freeze.

“It’s been such a cold spring we’ve just had all sorts of problems and this is just another,” Otto said.

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