Losses from storm in
July 12, 2007 Herald and News
Damage to Klamath Basin crops from last week’s
thunderstorm could exceed millions of dollars.
“It’s a multi-million dollar
loss for the growers,” said Bob Gasser, co-owner of
Basin Fertilizer, which services farmers throughout
the Klamath Basin. “Farming is not a fun game
The Friday night storm moved through the Basin from
southern Siskiyou County. Basin areas hardest hit
included Macdoel, Malin and Bonanza’s Yonna Valley.
Damage to strawberries, potatoes, grain and alfalfa
was caused by hail, heavy rain and powerful winds.
Tuesday’s night storm added more rain and standing
water to already soaked fields.
The storms hit as farmers were
well into the growing season. Strawberry growers are
halfway into the season, which means there are about
80 days until the harvest season, said Scott Scholer,
ranch manager for Lassen Canyon Nursery’s Macdoel
“We’re so far into the season that we’re going to have
to play catch-up,” said John Walls, ranch manager for
Sierra Cascade Nurseries, which has strawberry fields
in the Yonna Valley and Macdoel. “We’ve never been
down this road before.”
“You just can’t make this lost time up,” Gasser said.
Strawberry growers appear hardest hit, but others also
suffered heavy losses. Gasser estimates about 600 to
700 acres of Klamath Basin alfalfa were destroyed, and
many farmers lost at least one cutting.
“There’s not much left,” said Roy Wright, a Malin area
farmer. Instead of fields yielding 2 to 2 ½ tons of
alfalfa per acre, he now expects ¼ to ½ ton per acre
on 350 to 400 acres. He also estimates to harvest only
30 to 40 percent of his 100 acres of grain fields.
Gasser estimated about a dozen potato fields in the
Malin area were damaged by the storm, with about half
of those total losses. Of those, many surviving potato
fields will have poor yields.
“When you stun crops
like that you just won’t have a good crop,” Gasser
said, noting farmers also will have to use fungicides
to prevent disease.
Many farmers were continuing
to locate and repair irrigation lines Wednesday, five
days after the storm.
Wright said four wheel lines and 25 sections were
completely destroyed and many remain missing.
“We don’t even know where parts of them are. And we’ve
been looking and working since Saturday. We’re looking
at every drainage ditch. We found some of them a
half-mile away,” he said.