Water a Concern for Colorado Growers

Published online: Sep 14, 2018 Articles, Irrigation Ashley Nickle
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Source: The Packer  

San Luis Valley potato growers need Colorado to get more snow this coming winter than it got this past winter.

Jim Ehrlich, executive director for the Monte Vista-based Colorado Potato Administrative Committee, said the cost of irrigation has increased significantly as the industry has taken measures in recent years to ensure the sustainable use of groundwater.

Snowmelt was not as much of a help as growers would have liked, thanks to a hotter and drier winter than normal.

Growers indicated more surface water will be crucial for the 2019 crop.

“If we don’t get some snow pack next year, you’ll see an impact,” said Les Alderete, general manager for Center, Colo.-based Skyline Potato Co.

“We had enough water for this year, but if we don’t get some winter, get some moisture, get some snow, next year will be a problem for water.”

Sheldon Rockey, partner for Center-based Rockey Farms, also said water will be an issue to keep an eye on for next season.

“That’ll be a concern if we don’t get a true winter and get some snow again,” Rockey said.