Hurry and set up a 36-inch pipeline from northwestern Minnesota to southern Colorado to carry water and you’d have some happy potato growers.
The weather contrast between the two growing areas continues to widen as southern Colorado continues to sweat out low water tables and Minnesota/North Dakota growers have been flooded with too much rain.
Ada, MN, the confluence of the Wild Rice and Marsh rivers running toward the Red River, has been the scene of considerable flooding in late June as heavy rains pounded the area.
An estimated 400,000 acres in northwestern Minnesota have been flooded, with Norman County losing 240,000 acres alone. Needless to say, the rains have devastated crops. Just how many potato acres have been flooded in the East Grand Forks, MN, area is unknown. Some estimate put the total to about one-quarter of the potato acreage.
In southern Colorado, however, it is a different story as continued dry, windy weather saps moisture from the area and water tables continue to drop. Some wells have gone dry along the outer edges of the San Luis Valley.
When northwest heavy rains in mid-June hit Minnesota, it was called a once-in-100-year event. The second storm toward the end of the month was being called a once-in-500-year occurrence.