Flooding Delays Start of Planting Season for Local Farmers - FOX 18 Quad Cities News and Weather

Flooding Delays Start of Planting Season for Local Farmers

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All of the flooding has taken farmers' worries from one extreme to the other - While at the end of last season, they were concerned about dry weather, this year, it has been far too wet.

Keep in mind that last year at this time, farmers were celebrating a perfect planting season. And we all know how that turned out - with the drought hitting local farms pretty hard.

This year, there has been a swing far in the other direction - with fields so flooded, farmers can't put anything into the ground.

"We were so worried about the drought and if we were going to have enough moisture," said Kevin Urick, Henry County Farm Bureau President, "And now I can say yes, we have enough moisture."

But when it comes to farming, there can definitely be too much of a good thing.

A lot of fields are now underwater. Some are pocked with puddles, others look like lakes.

And all that water has local farmers in a holding pattern.

Last year, April 23rd was the day Kevin Urick finished his planting on his Prophetstown farm.

This year, he's nowhere close to starting.

Any seeds planted now would struggle to sprout in all this water. Plus, the soil is still too cold to support corn and soybeans anyway. Farmers who tried to plant those crops in the current conditions would more or less be throwing away their money.

Still, it's not time to throw the towel in on this season just yet.

"Hopefully, we can get the crop in here in the next three weeks," Urick said.

Typically, corn gets planted mid-April to mid-May, so there's still plenty of time for it all to turn out.

"You can sometimes plant corn up until the first part of June," Urick said. "People have, when we have had wet years,"

"You get discounted," he added, as a word of caution.

Urick says, in general, for every day you don't have corn planted after you hit mid-May, that's a couple bushels a day in yield you will be losing.

But that is not set in stone.

"In 2009, we got our crops in a little bit later. We had a good yield," Urick recalled.

What matters now is how the weather shapes up for the near future.

A stretch of warmer, drier weather should get everything back on track.

"You know, farmers are generally optimistic," Urick said.

And, ever the optimist himself, Urick pointed out that there's already one silver lining to this rain cloud: At least there won't be as many weeds to take care of when farmers finally can start planting their fields.

Urick says, despite the rough weather, he has seen some planting going on in the area. Potatoes are one of the only crops that can tolerate these cooler soil temps, and where the soil is dry enough, farmers are putting those in the ground now.

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