Welcome to the first of a series of daily stories about the unusual rainfall and flood conditions that hit Indiana over the past 10 days. As long as flooding and crop impact are issues, we'll continue the series. Unfortunately, some experts believe you might be seeing it for quite some time.
The Indiana Ag Climatologist office says that the flood totals may not reach the 1912 record highs, except for perhaps in a couple of spots. In many areas this may wind up as the second worst flooding since then. Unless you're working on your first century of living, it's likely the worst flooding many now living have seen.
Northern Indiana was hit with severe flooding during Labor Day in '05. Weather specialists say this one is perhaps even more intense, and definitely more widespread.
The county posting the highest rainfall for June 7 was likely Owen County, unofficially around 10 inches. Officially, a reporting site near Bowling Green in nearby Clay County topped 10 inches. For the period June 2-June 8, Bowling Green reported 14 inches of rain. Unofficially, weather gurus near Edinburgh reported about the same rainfall for the 5 day period.
Edinburgh is the location of the Farm Progress Corn Illustrated plots. To put it in perspective, the plot rain gauge received just over 5 inches form May 1 to Sept 15 in '07, altogether. During the five days from June 3 to June 7, 2008, the same rain gauge recorded 14 inches; Nearly three times as much!
Columbus was also hard hit, due in part to a dam breaking on a local lake. Flooding is expected to b severe in Greene and Own Counties from water received not only there, but upstream as it moves down the White and Wabash Rivers toward the Ohio River.
Just how powerful was the storm? One of the Corn Illustrated plots was a population study, planted May 5 in a field bordering a gravel pit. It's three feet of loam soil over gravel. The back half of the western side of the plot is now in the gravel pit! It's a complete wipe-out, the farmer notes. Fortunately, the plot was replicated and the rows were long enough that with the front half of the field still intact, the plot can be salvaged.
Two other plots were on heavier soils. There will be some loss due to ponding in one plot. The other plot does not have water standing on it, and the corn has emerged.
The next issue is nitrogen loss. Part of the plot that didn't flood will be sidedresses. The other part was fertilized with urea shortly before planting on May 30. What seemed like a poor comparison, sidedressing vs urea application late in the planting season, may now be quite telling, notes Jim Camberato, a Purdue University soil fertility specialist. It's possible that a sizable amount of the urea was lost, perhaps in the neighborhood of 20 to 25 pounds.
Is that a big enough loss to justify coming back in with booms and applying more N with a self-propelled sprayer? Check in again tomorrow when Camberato addresses that issue with a unique answer.