REGIONAL—N’West Iowa corn and soybean producers still are recovering after the recent flooding, and some experts say the effects could be felt for a long time to come.
Joel DeJong, an agronomist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, said crop insurance will not cover all of the crop losses. The next step may be planning for next year.
Les Cleveringa, who farms north of Alton, said he lost a large section of crops, but crop insurance will not be able to help him.
“I had a river bottom that flooded and basically 90 percent of that crop is gone,” the 65-year-old said. “I can’t replant. I’m planting a cover crop and hope to harvest some hay out of it — if we don’t get flooded again. We actually just got it sown in. I’ve never, ever not been able to replant there. The water was so unbelievably high.”
DeJong said other grain producers are in the same situation.
“Some of them might grow a cover crop to reduce the chance of a phosphorous deficiency,” he said. “Anytime you have wet spots it affects your gross income. They’re frustrated, no doubt. Farmers are used to having very good crops by this time.”
Generally diligent about their schedules, farmers have been thrown off course by the wet conditions. Some fields look dry on the surface but are still too wet to drive on.
DeJong said the wet fields mean necessary herbicides have not been applied in several weeks. This has allowed weeds to spring up which causes crops to compete for nutrients and limits the effectiveness of herbicides.
“When the weeds are that big the herbicides aren’t totally effective,” DeJong said. “They will cause damage to the tissue but not enough to kill it.”
He warned weed growth can have lingering effects the following year they may be more likely to grow in those spots.
The weeds are not just eyesores. They can lead to a loss in yield production potential.
“There are still a lot of things that could affect this year’s crops,” said Tom Edwards, grain merchandiser with Siouxland Energy Cooperative. “Obviously, there are going to be some areas that aren’t going to produce due to flooding, but also areas that could exceed recent high yields.”
The loss of corn is not likely to have an impact on the ethanol industry, according to DeJong. While N’West Iowa may see a drop in production, other areas will cover that loss.