July 29, 2015

Hail and rain provide double trouble for northwest Iowa crops

The storms that generated hail and flooding have created some problems for farmers in northwest Iowa. Iowa State University Extension Crops Specialist, Joel DeJong says a hail clinic has been scheduled for Friday near George, Iowa to help farmers make decisions regarding hail damaged crops. “There’s been several areas in northwest Iowa that have gotten some hail storms in the last several days and actually the last couple three weeks. And we are trying to supply information to people to take the emotion out of their decisions, try to look at what we can expect agrinomically for crop growth and development after a hail storm,” DeJong says.

The recent heavy rains that accompanied the storms also left several hundred acres of corn and soybeans under water. DeJong says the amount of time those crops remain submerged will determine whether they will be able to recover.”If they’re fully submerged for more than a couple of days, I would suspect they’re not going to make it. Even when it’s this warm, maybe even only a day,” DeJong says. “So, we are hoping that the water recedes off those fields rapidly and we can salvage those crops. But all we can do is wait and see what happens.”

The crops specialist says the water-logged fields could cause crops to lose both valuable oxygen. “Crops kind of like humans have to have some oxygen. So if we’re totally saturated, the oxygen will dissipate in those root systems, and that creates some problems too. In a half dozen days or so of totally saturated soils very often we loose those crops too,” DeJong explains. “So we have risk of losing some of those locations because it doesn’t look like the water is receding all that fast.”

DeJong says saturated fields can cause nitrogen loss and growers might have to apply nitrogen to the corn to get it growing again. DeJong says despite all the problems with hail and flooding, the condition of northwest Iowa’s crops appears to be good. “That’s kind of one of those things that makes it even tougher for producers. We had alot of those crops that looked very good for the middle of June,” DeJong says. He says there were stands of corn that were knee-high, and beans that had several leaves on them and were looking good.

DeJong says this is an ideal time for farmers to take notes about their fields and to decide what measures can be taken for conservation and the prevention of soil erosion.

(Reporting by Dennis Morrice, KLEM, Le Mars)


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