As the snow melts, many Iowa rivers and streams are out of their banks, but the state’s Agriculture Secretary says there’s little concern at the moment in the ag community about flooding having an impact on spring planting season. Despite flood warnings in several eastern Iowa counties, Bill Northey says farmers are still weeks from needing to drive their tractors into the fields.
Northey says: "We do have a lot of moisture out there now and we got some more again this week. It can dry up fairly quickly. Weather turns. We’ve got a month before we really need to start getting our corn in the ground and it’s amazing how fast it can turn." He says farmers know that a few days, let alone weeks, can mean a significant change in the forecast — and in soil conditions.
"I think everyone knows that can happen, at the same time, we have plenty of water out there right now and they are getting a little antsy, looking forward, trying to make sure that can happen on time." This is expected to go down as one of the wettest winters on record, with some parts of the state recording more than 70-inches of snowfall.
Still, Northey says the weather will start changing soon as spring arrives tomorrow. Northey, a corn and soybean farmer from Spirit Lake, says: "I don’t think there’s anybody overly concerned yet. There are other kinds of things that are happening because of this moisture. We’ve got some road issues in some areas on some gravel roads that are hard to travel on that it’s hard to move livestock or feed for livestock around. Those will probably dry up here as time goes on but some of those are in pretty tough shape right now."
For more information on flooding, see the National Weather Service website at "www.nws.noaa.gov".