After five days of heavy rain, many Iowa farmers are looking at wide expanses of cropland that are underwater.
Bill Northey, Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture, says the weather over the next few days may be key in determining break or bust for perhaps hundreds of producers of corn, soybeans and other commodities.
“Certainly, there are some crops that are in low ground right now that are flooded,” Northey says. “If that would leave right away, it would be hard on the crops but they’d likely come back. If that sits there very long, it’s likely to drown those crops out. It’s getting late enough now, it’s pretty hard to replant. If you do replant, the yield expectations are a lot lower.”
Some areas of in southeast Iowa have seen more than 7-inches of rain in the past several days and Northey says in many low-lying areas, there’s no where for all of that water to go. Any crops that are flooded now are “definitely hurt,” Northey says, as are pasturelands that farmers would like to use for feeding livestock. He says those producers may have to use hay for now until the water drops and the pastures come back.
Northey couldn’t single out any individual counties where disaster declarations may be pending. “It matters what happens these next few days,” Northey says. “If we can get this water moving and if we could get this rain to stop, we probably two weeks from now will look back and say, ‘That was close but it wasn’t real bad.’ We do have some areas that, even without additional water, are very hurt. As this progresses, we’ll have to do an assessment and see how bad it really is.”