Colorado Flooding Impact on Dairies Severe, Not Catastrophic

September 16, 2013 11:00 AM

Colorado dairy officials are still assessing this weekend’s massive rain and flood events on the Rocky Mountain "Front Range" north of Denver.

To date, no dairy farms have been forced to evacuate, though cows and heifers in some pens on some dairies have been moved due to high water. "As far as we know, all farms still have power," says JoAnne Grammond, senior director of communications for the Western Dairy Association. "Neighbors are working with neighbors to make sure cattle have feed."

Milk trucks have also been able to reach dairies, although their routes might have been altered due to the flooding and washed out highways, she says.

The bigger impact might yet be coming, says Bill Wailes, an Extension dairy specialist with Colorado State University. "Farmers were just starting to cut corn for corn silage last week," he says, "but all that has stopped with the 5" to 6" of rain we’ve received over the weekend."

Wailes says most of the ground on the Front Range are heavier soils with limited drainage. So it could be 10 days—at best—for corn chopping to resume. Fields near flooded rivers will be problematic due to debris.

Meatingplace also reports that JBS canceled two shifts at its packing plants in Greeley Monday, due to flooding that was preventing workers from coming in. The plants employ an estimated 5,000 workers.

There is still some rain in the forecast, but the heavy rains have ended. Dry weather is being forecast for the rest of the week.  

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