Some southwest Iowa farmers are preparing to plant their crops for a third time because this spring’s pounding rains washed out their recently-seeded fields. Clark McGrath, a crop specialist with Iowa State University’s Extension Service, is based in Harlan. He says it’s difficult to predict the extent of the flood damage in his region, but many farmers’ pocketbooks are taking a hit.
"We’ve got some acres that won’t have a crop on them or they’ll have a very low-yielding crop on them simply because they’re too wet or the stand was too bad and yeah, it’s going to hurt," he says. "When it comes harvest time, we’re not going to have the yield that we’ve had the last couple of years." McGrath says farmers are making every effort to get the 2007 crop in the ground, but some fields just won’t get planted.
"We’re getting equipment stuck. We’re getting planters just plugged full of mud," McGrath says. "…We’re sort of spinning our wheels in some of these spots." McGrath says some farmers are comparing this year to 1993 when floods devastated the state.
The latest Iowa crop and weather report from the USDA shows the rain is making it hard to finish planting soybeans in Iowa and the harvest of the first hay crop has been delayed, too. According to the report, fields are showing "signs of stress" from all the excess moisture. Many corn plants look yellow and have shallow root systems in water-logged fields.