FLOODED FARMS: Too Much Of A Good Thing

Posted on: 6:32 pm, May 31, 2013, by

Eight weeks ago, Kevin Larson was praying for rain on his Story city farm.

“There wasn’t enough moisture to produce a crop, we felt,” said Larson.

His prayers were answered and then some.

Eight inches of rain fell in his fields in the past week alone.

Now Larson and many other farmers are dealing with ponds of water that could take up to a week of warm, windy weather to dry up.

“I think we’re still six or seven days away from doing anything in the field,” Larson told Channel 13 News.

With 85 percent of corn planted statewide, you may wonder why the urgency to get in the field.

In Larson’s case, it’s to redo work that he completed a month ago.

“I’m estimating that 10-20% of my corn will have to be replanted,” said Larson.

Crop insurance will help cover new seeds, but each day the weather keeps farmers from getting them in the ground means fewer days corn has to grow before harvest.

Roger Elmore, an agronomist at Iowa State University says that could lead to lower yields.

“We could lose 10-15% yield potential just because we’re planting late. If we have to wait for the end of June, say June 25th or so, we’re losing 30-45% of our yield potential,” said Elmore.

Lower yields mean less income.

“Supply will probably be down. Prices will be up,” Elmore told Channel 13 News.

Dry conditions over the next few weeks would help farmers like Larson get their corn back in the field and get them worrying about how the weather will affect a whole new crop of seed.

“The yield at the end of the season will depend on the fall and if we get an early frost, or late frost,” said Larson.