Rain may impact area crops
June was the third wettest month in 141 years of Iowa rainfall records, according to a report released from Harry Hillaker, state climatologist for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
How this will affect crop yields depends on a couple of things, said Virgil Schmitt, agronomist at the Iowa State University extension office in Muscatine County, whose area includes Washington County.
“I think it all depends on which storm you were under,” Schmitt said. “There are three primary issues farmers are having from the last week of storms—hail damage, which I haven’t seen any in Washington County, water damage, and wind damage.”
Schmitt was out surveying fields Wednesday morning. He has noticed some corn bent over in the fields.
“This is from a wind span,” he said. “The corn is leaned over but not snapped. They’ll do what we call ‘gooseneck’ back up again. There will be a very low loss from this, but it does mean harvesting could be difficult because they’re not in straight rows. Farmers will have to make adjustments to the corn heads or attachments and should make arrangements for this now.”
Schmitt said he has also received reports of crops being submerged in the fields from the recent rain events eastern Iowa has seen.
“If plants are completely submerged they can stand submersion for four days in 77-degree water,” he said. “For hay and pasture ground they can be submerged for one to two days.”
These crops will be able to be saved, Schmitt said.
However, he’s not as optimistic about farmland along rivers, such as the Iowa River and English River, where crops are submerged for an extended amount of time.
“Those are pretty much a lost cause,” he said.
Unfortunately, it is too late in the growing season for farmers to replant corn and soybean crops, Schmitt said.
“The other option would be for farmers to plant a summer forage or cover crops, which would probably be their best option,” he said. “But first they need to look at their crop insurance and alert them [the company a farmer has crop insurance with] about what they want to do. Second, they need to make sure the crop insurance people are on board with what they want to do.”