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Serving: United States

From too dry to flooded fields. What now?

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It is frustrating to get the crop this far and then possibly lose it.

I know just a couple of weeks ago I was crying over how dry it was. Well, the pattern changed last week. We went north 10 miles to Onya’s softball game the other evening and all I could think is, ‘what a mess.’

The kids lost count of the ponds they saw in fields. Depending on where you stood, rainfall in the last 7 days totaled between 3 and 6 inches. One neighbor even reported dumping 7.9” from his gauge. It came over the course of several days, but it was still too much too fast. Areas that were the bottom of that range are okay. But above that, water ran off from the hills to low areas. Ditches and rivers filled up, then the water from east of us came down the already full drainage system and pushed its way over the banks.

When it rains like this, there are some areas that you just know are going to flood. But usually if you make it to the end of June, you are safe from these type of events. It is frustrating to get the crop this far and lose it. It is too late to replant corn (unless you can chop it for feed). Second crop soybeans (soybeans planted after wheat harvest) would usually be going pretty soon, so it is conceivable to replant some beans depending on how fast it dries out. It is nice to see green crop out there, but second crop yields are unpredictable. Most guys will not replant because the holes are out in the middle of fields where you would have to destroy good crops to get to them.

What about drainage pumps

Dewatering is one thing I’ve never written about before. This week I saw a couple of friends post on Facebook talking about drainage pumps. Where we live, we are not in an area where hundreds or thousands of acres are protected by levees or ditches. We do have some fields that are ‘pumped.’ but you don’t have to go too far west before you get into the Kankakee River basin where many acres are drained through systems of ditches and rivers.

It is not uncommon to have 8, 12, or even 24” pumps (I’m sure some are larger) that lift the water out of the fields and into the rivers. The pumps can be run by electric, a power unit, or a tractor. These systems are vital to keeping those areas of farmland fit to be farmed and protected from flooding.

Besides the comparison of whose pump is bigger, the posts simply pointed out how important these areas of farmland are to the overall production capacity of the United States.

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