During the week of June 8, Iowa witnessed record high flood crests on several interior rivers that made national news. But for agricultural interests, the sheer volume of rainfall remains the story even more than the flooding rivers. Total statewide rainfall for Iowa in the 6 weeks from May 1 to June 15 averages 13.3 inches, which is double the normal precipitation load. The wettest areas are central Iowa (9+ inches above normal) and northeastern Iowa (8.5+ above normal).
This is a view near Boone, Iowa on June 14, 2008 illustrating the ponding of farm fields that is common in many parts of Iowa. (photo by John Kennicker)
Most crop fields that are out of the floodwaters are progressing acceptably, but prevented weed management is putting some at peril for yield loss. Because field work time is at a premium now, and everything cannot happen at once, growers should carefully judge the order of tasks. Generally, the major field activities during the next couple of weeks include planting and replanting, weed spraying, forage harvest and possibly side-dressing additional N fertilizer.
And finally, remember to document damaged fields with your insurance carrier where appropriate before destroying a stand, and to explore options for prevented plantings and keep good records of planting dates.