Rain Causing Growing Concern for U.S. Crops

Jun 25, 2024

By Ryan Hanrahan

Reuters’ Naveen Thukral reported Monday that “in the United States, a top food exporter, intense heat has gripped parts of the east coast, while excessive rains in the key Midwest growing region and forecasts for more wet weather have raised fears of floods.”

“‘In the Midwest, the focus is shifting from heat to too much rain, which could result in flooding on corn and soybean producing areas, especially in the Upper Midwest,‘ (meteorologist Chris) Hyde said.”

The Associated Press reported Sunday that “in the Midwest where South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota meet, floodwaters rose through the weekend. In northwest Iowa, 13 rivers flooded the area, said Eric Tigges of Clay County emergency management. Entire neighborhoods — and at least one entire town — were evacuated, and the town of Spencer imposed a curfew Sunday for the second night in a row after flooding that surpassed the record set in 1953.”


“National Weather Service meteorologist Donna Dubberke said parts of northern Nebraska, southeastern South Dakota, southern Minnesota and northwest Iowa received eight times the typical average rainfall. And more heavy rain was expected this week,” The Associated Press reported.

Excess Moisture Threatening Harvest Progress and Crop Yields

In Minnesota, the Mankato Free Press’ Mark Fischenich reported that “the number of farmers and the number of counties dealing with excess moisture is only growing. Waseca already had the third wettest spring in 110 years of record-keeping when the stats were last updated through Wednesday at the University of Minnesota’s Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca.”

“‘We’ve really been stuck in a rainy pattern,’ said Tom Hoverstad, a scientist at the Research and Outreach Center,” according to Fischenich. “‘There’s a lot of areas that were planted, drowned out/flooded out, drained, were replanted and now have drowned out again.'”

“The problem in those low-lying spots is impossible to miss — sickly, dead or never-planted crops,” Fischenich reported. “…When all of the impacts are combined, farmers could see their annual incomes getting soaked.”

“‘By the time you’re done, it’s very easy to lose 10-15% of the yield potential,'” Thiesse said,” according to Fischenich.

And in Wisconsin, WBAY’s Samantha Cavalli reported at the end of last week that “northeast Wisconsin farmers are asking for the rain to stop, as it’s hurting their chances of planting and harvesting their crops.”

“Mark Petersen of Petersen Dairy Farm says he hasn’t been able to consistently get out onto his fields because of the weather,” Cavalli reported. “Many of the crops he has planted are under too much moisture, while crops waiting to get put into the ground may not make it in time. He says he’s heard multiple farmers complain about this year’s season as they remain at the mercy of round after round of rain.”

“‘We’ve still got some dry hay to harvest yet and that’s a nightmare,’ says Petersen,” according to Cavalli. ‘We can’t do it because of the weather forecast. It should’ve been harvested optimum the last week of May so we’re getting a month late and it’s getting overly ripe and feed quality is not worth a darn at this point.'”

More Rain in the Forecast

AccuWeather’s Renee Duff reported this past weekend that “drenching showers and, in some instances, damaging thunderstorms have been a nearly daily occurrence since last week amid hot and steamy air, and AccuWeather meteorologists say this pattern will persist into early week.”

“Fronts slicing into the heat and humidity often give thunderstorms an extra boost of wind energy, increasing the likelihood of downed trees, power outages and even isolated tornadoes,” Duff reported. “AccuWeather experts say another front will cross the Midwest and Northeast into the middle of this week, setting the stage for more widespread severe thunderstorm risks.”

Source : illinois.edu
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