Montana AG Network: Flooding hitting farmers

Posted at 8:16 AM, Apr 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-16 10:16:41-04

SHELBY – Some farmers in Montana aren’t able to get into their fields quite yet due to the amount of moisture in and on the ground — including at a farm in Shelby where they’re dealing with flooding like never before.

Montana has seen a record amount of snowfall this season which is now causing headaches for some farmers — and as the snow starts to melt, the water is forced to go somewhere.

“This is actually all gravel. This is our driveway around here and there’s no water that runs through here. And there’s just been so much snowfall this winter and that snow is starting to move, it’s melting, but it’s never been to this scale," said Nick Welker of Welker Farms.

The water is preventing them from getting in their fields, with each new, significant snowfall adding to the wait time.

“Typically if there’s snow on the ground, you got at least a month probably. We’re kind of thinking now, probably the middle of May," Welker said. “A month isn’t the end of the world for us, we’ve seed in May, too, but it’s definitely seeded later than we’ve seen.”

This time last year they already had seeds in the ground and a drought like last year could be devastating.

“You know, if we don’t get our peas in in the middle of May then it probably won’t be flowering until the end of June, beginning of July so that could be, if it turns out like last year, it could be a wreck so we’re kind of like, we’re nervous," Welker said.

But he’s remaining optimistic, "if this is it, we should be able to start seeding in the next three to four weeks if the weather stays warm and everything," Welker said.

Welker says that at this time last year, they were halfway done with seeding. But this year, they will have to hold off until the ground dries a little more before they can plant spring wheat, yellow peas and chickpeas.