Colorado corn farmers hold back on planting in extreme drought conditions

DENVER - Colorado corn farmers are holding back on planting because of the state's extreme drought conditions, even as growers around the country collectively intend to plant more corn than they have in 77 years.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's spring planting survey showed U.S. farmers intend to plant 97.3 million acres of corn this year, which would be the most since 1936.

Agriculture officials said Thursday that Colorado farmers only intend to plant an estimated 1.25 million acres of corn, which is 12 percent below their plantings last year.

The U.S. Drought Monitor shows all of Colorado is experiencing some level of drought. A large portion of southeastern Colorado is experiencing exceptional drought, which is considered the most extreme condition on the U.S. Drought Monitor's five-level scale.

Statewide mountain snowpack was 78 percent of average as of Thursday.