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Corn+Soybean Digest

Spring Flooding Worries on the Rise

Fears that extremely wet conditions in the Midwest will result in spring flooding and planting delays appear to be contributing to the recent rebound in corn futures prices.

A large snowpack could turn result in extensive flooding as it melts in the northern Plains and the Midwest this spring, World Weather Inc. President Drew Lerner said in a recent report.

According to Dow Jones News Service, Lerner said that with anywhere from 2 to 10 in. of moisture sitting on soils from the Dakotas to Wisconsin and down into Iowa, a significant warming trend would cause a problem, particularly in the Red River Basin.

"The odds of having two back-to-back years of record flooding are low, but not completely out of the realm of possibility," Lerner said.

Lerner said the extent and depth of the snowpack is much bigger this year, and that there is also the potential for trouble in an area from southeast Indiana into much of Ohio.

According to a spring flood outlook issued on Friday by the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Fargo, North Dakota, the Red River valley's biggest city has a 96% chance of major spring flooding and a 20% chance of setting a new river elevation record of ft., because of heavy fall rains, deep snow and prospects for more precipitation.

"The magnitude and extent of spring 2010 flooding will likely be similar to that experienced during the spring of 2009," the NWS said.

Gail Martell of Martell Crop Projections noted on Monday that the top U.S. corn states of Iowa and Illinois are extremely wet.

North-central Iowa received 12.4 in. of moisture between Oct. 1 and mid-February, Martell said in a report on the firm’s Web site. That compares to 6.3 in. normally and threatens to break a 1970-1971 record.

Western and central Illinois have received 165-180% of normal precipitation since Oct. 1, Martell said. More unwanted rain and snow developed on the weekend.

The latest spring flooding outlook released by the NWS office in Des Moines, IA, on Friday said the risk of flooding is much above normal at most central Iowa locations and has risen since an earlier outlook issued on Jan. 19.

"The flooding is expected from mid-March into late April. Flooding may occur earlier or later than this time period depending on weather activity and trends," the NWS report said.

Editor’s note: Richard Brock, Corn & Soybean Digest's marketing editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.

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