WELD COUNTY - It is hard to believe they are the same fields. Last July, corn fields in northeast Colorado were withered and dying. The condition of those fields sparked the department of agriculture to declare it a disaster area, allowing farmers to apply for loans to survive. Today, those same fields are lush, green and on the verge of producing an outstanding crop.
"It is like night and day to be able to look at a green and healthy plant," corn farmer Glenn Fritzler said. "Last year, that corn was the same color and the dirt."
The change is a result of a very wet spring that helped to fill reservoirs and rivers in the mountains. That snow melt is now allowing farmers to draw water from the South Platte River and irrigate their fields.
"It was an amazing April. We had four amazing snow storms," Fritzler said.
The only downside to that April snow can be seen in a sign on Fritzler's corn stand. It reads: "Closed."
"We couldn't get into the fields because of the snow and the corn fields were planted at least two weeks later than normal. The stand is going to be open maybe a week later than normal," Fritzler said.
Weather conditions have helped the corn crop catch up. The warm summer days combined with a plentiful supply of water are helping most all of the crops to grow.
While the quality of the Colorado produce should be high this year, it may not be as abundant as expected. Many farmers cut back on the number of acres of corn they put into production this year out of concern the drought conditions would continue.
While the production of fruits and vegetables in northeast Colorado is looking very good, the same cannot be said for the peach crop on the western slope. Because of a cold spring, the famous Palisade peach crop is expected to be considerably less than normal.