Snow mixed blessing for area

By Christina Calloway

CMI staff writer

ccalloway@pntonline.com

Local farmers said spring crops will benefit from the weekend’s 7-plus inches of snow.

Those in the dairy industry said the additional moisture comes at a cost but they know the difficulties are temporary.

“Of course we need moisture, but probably the biggest hurdle to overcome is getting the milk trucks to the dairy to pick up the milk,” said Walter Bradley, a representative of the Government and Business Relations Department of New Mexico’s Dairy Farmers of America.

Bradley of Clovis said dairy farmers hate when they have to dump milk because drivers couldn’t reach them and there is no additional storage for it.

He said that happened to a few dairy farmers on the eastern side of the state during this weekend’s storm.

“Winter icy roads are not conducive for what we’re trying to do, our day-to-day operations,” Bradley said. “We love it but it’s also the enemy. The state cleans off the highways but those blacktop roads, they make it hard for big trucks to pick up those 6,000 gallons of milk.”

Roosevelt County Extension Office Agent Patrick Kircher said the snow will benefit all crops.

“The snow will replenish the ground moisture and that will help us in the spring,” Kircher said. “The immediate help will go to the wheat, but it will help all crops in the long run.”

Floyd farmer Allen Deen said there’s still about 4 inches of snow sitting atop his 160 acres of wheat.

He said this crop will differ from previous years because of the additional moisture.

“(The snow) will put a soil profile for our spring seeded-crop. It will have deep moisture that we haven’t had in years past,” Deen said.

Curry County dairyman Albin Smith said the freezing temperatures makes caring for the animals harder because it takes a lot more energy to keep them warm.

“We’re not going to complain about the snow or the moisture (the temperatures) just make it harder on the cows, but we’re happy to have it,” Smith said.

Bradley said dairy farmers can double an energy bill just from the electricity and gas they use to keep their cows at a comfortable temperature.

He added when dairy farmers know the storm is coming, they often spread hay in the lots of the animals so the cows can lay on hay instead of the mud.

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