Flooding Remains a Threat to Midwest's Soybean, Corn Fields

July 7, 2015 07:00 PM
Flooding Remains a Threat to Midwest's Soybean, Corn Fields

Missouri is at the epicenter of recent torrential rainfall, but some fields in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Kansas are also under water. Not only have this year’s torrential rains delayed soybean planting in these states, but the excessive downpours have also started to kill some fields of both corn and soybeans.

“We are getting far too much rain, and a great deal of that is attributed to El Niño,” said Louise Gartner of Spectrum Commodities in New Richmond, Ohio.

Nationally, 5 million acres remained unplanted as of June 28.

“The likelihood that beans will be planted at this late date is highly unlikely,” said Gartner.

According to USDA’s most recent Crop Progress report, only 73% of Missouri’s soybean acres have been planted as of July 5, compared with the state’s five-year average of 97%. Nationally, 96% of the nation’s soybeans have been planted, compared with the five-year average of 100%.

“We can be successful planting soybeans this late, but the risk of early frost and low yield increase as the days go on,” said Bill Wiebold, University of Missouri extension agronomist. “There is still a good opportunity to get 25 to 30 bushels per acre.”

However, that is well below the state’s high-40 bushels per acre that producers get in a good year. In northern Missouri, the chance a frost will occur on or before October 17 is 30%, or three out of every 10 years.

“We have already lost yield potential,” says Wiebold.  “We have fields that have been waterlogged for two months. Some of the corn may look waist-high, but it is starting to die. The crops are a long ways away from being healthy.”

Flooding Risk Grows

Some areas of central Midwest received as much as 3 inches to 5 inches of above-normal rainfall in late June, a continuation of this spring and early summer’s very wet weather pattern, according to the Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC).

Some of the region’s rivers reached record flood stage in June and the Illinois River was closed to recreational boating. According to the National Weather Service, the Middle Fabius River, near Ewing, Missouri, established a new record flood stage of 26.38 feet and the North Fabius River hit a record 25.5 feet.

“A flash flooding event in Springfield, Missouri, caused the James River to jump from five feet to a record 22.2 feet in less than 24 hours,” MRCC noted in a press release. “Unfortunately, more rain is expected to further stress flooded rivers in the months to come.”

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is calling for a greater chance of above-normal precipitation in July across the Midwest.

“With saturated soils in place, the Midwest is now vulnerable for a much larger major flood event,” said MRCC.

What's happening in the fields near your farm? Let us know in the comments or send your photos and observations to AgWeb's Crop Comments section.

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Spell Check

Monroe, MI
7/10/2015 07:39 AM

  13 inches of rain in June following a wet May and still raining. Thousands of acres of prevented planting, replanting flooded out and yellow corn under water. Hail stripped corn, cut soybeans at the ground and cut wheat heads. Miserable growing conditions.

Western, NE
7/8/2015 09:01 AM

  Where I'm at, we've had 18.1 inches of rain since the 2nd week of April. That's a year's worth of rain! I worry about it drying out in August and early September. We may then be dry until next April! Very grateful for the rain.

Martinsburg, MO
7/8/2015 09:40 AM

  over 30 in since May 13, corn is horrible and less than half of beans planted. 100acres out of 3800 acres up. maybe 400 acres of corn out of 3800 that will make anything. corn planted in april waist tall and yellow