Rain, hail and tornadoes blasted the upper Midwest over the past week, causing flooding, mudslides and turning cropland into lakes.
According to the StarTribune, up to 6 inches of rain fell in Minneapolis-St. Paul area, and 35 Minnesota counties have declared emergencies. Hail decimated cornfields in the southwestern corner of the state, and many fields are under water.
Some farmers from the area have reported on the damage to AgWeb’s Crop Comments. Here’s what they had to say:
Winnebago County, Iowa: Acres and acres under water. Hail and wind damage. Rivers and creeks flooded, gullies washed everywhere. A lot of damage has occurred across widespread areas of Minnesota and northern Iowa this week.
LeSueur County, Minn.: Minnesota...land of 10 million lakes!
Sibley County, Minn.: All the good to excellent corn must be elsewhere than in this county. Many fields still not touched due to wetness, corn small and yellow due to oversaturation. I expect some big surprises on actual acres planted and the actual yields.
South Central Minn.: Corn flat to the ground after last night's storm. Streak of hail on some to our west. Many acres under water. Corn was already yellow and uneven. Predicting severe storms every day this week. We don’t get record crops in this part of the country when it rains like this.
Assessing the Damage
According to University of Minnesota Extension, young corn can survive flood conditions for 2 to 4 days, depending on the temperature, how much of the plants are submerged and how quickly the water recedes.
"Corn plants that survived flooded conditions should show new leaf development within 3 to 5 days after water recedes," say U of M Extension agronomists. "Flooding and saturated conditions also restrict root development, thereby reducing the crop's ability to take up water and nutrients and tolerate drought stress later in the season."
Soybeans, on the other hand, can tolerate flooded conditions a little longer.
"Although soybean is generally sensitive to excess water, soybeans can survive underwater for a week or more under ideal conditions," the agronomists say.
Farmers whose fields have flooded will need to take into consideration replanting decisions, nitrogen management and the development of seedling diseases.
Additionally, some growers may need to assess hail damage to their corn and soybean crops. University of Minnesota Extension agronomists Jeff Coulter and Seth Naeve offer some tips for assessing hail damage and deciding whether to replant or press on with the current crop.
"For those producers who choose to keep their existing crops, care should be taken to ensure that these fields produce as much as possible," they say.