Rain improves agriculture outlook

The recent rain and runoff has farmers and ranchers expecting a better year for agriculture.

"It's going to be great," said Pud Stetson, a local CPA and rancher.

Despite the seasonal volume expected to be 70 percent to 90 percent of average for the Yampa and White River basins, conditions are much better than in past years.

Tory VanTassel, the Moffat County Cooperative Extension Intern Horticulture Specialist, said he thinks there is going to be a higher production in hay and that agriculture in the area will benefit as a whole. Although he thinks this season will be better for farmers and ranchers in the Yampa Valley, he cautions them.

"You can't bounce back from a 5-year drought with one wet spring," he said.

Stetson is following Van-Tassel's advice and said that in spite of the recent weather, he won't change the numbers in his stock.

"We're going to let the land get well," he said.

Donna Deakins, co-owner of Deakins Ranch, thinks it is too early to tell what affects the recent rain will have. While the grass is green now, Deakins knows the weather can never be predicted.

"The disadvantage is if it dries out," she said. "Then we have a better chance for a fire."

Nevertheless, Deakins ex--pects to have a significant increase in production from years past.

With the increased precipitation, grain is expected to have better yields.

"From a moisture standpoint it's excellent," said Gordon Grandbouche, owner of the Craig Grain Co.

Although Grandbouche ex--pects a good yield of grain, he said the production of grain depends on many other things than precipitation. He said the locations of the harvest and future weather also can affect the crops.

"It won't be as dramatic as you might think," he said. "But overall, I expect it to be slightly above average."

Although most of the snow pack for the Yampa Valley has melted off, Brian Avery, a service hydrologist from the National Weather Service Forecast office in Grand Junction, said most of the surface needs for the area have been filled, but farmers are not in the clear yet.

"We need another good, wet winter," he said.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.