May 16, 2002

Heavy Rains Put Local Farmers Even Further Behind In Planting

Waters were rising all day Saturday, May 11 and Sunday May 12 when as much as six inches of rain fell across Scotland County. The canal bridge was one of the few area bridges not overrun by floodwaters.

If April Showers bring May flowers what do May torrential downpours and flash floods bring?

Don't ask a local farmer that question. The collective stress level of northeast Missouri went well beyond the healthy stage last week when heavy rains May 11 and 12 worsened already saturated fields across the region.

According to the Missouri Agriculture Statistics Services (MASS), Scotland County received 6.98 inches of rain during the week of May 6-12.

And Memphis was fortunate. Knox County to the south had more than nine inches of rain during that period shutting down roads into Edina and forcing one man to be rescued from his vehicle after it was swept off a roadway by a flash flood. Then there is Adair county which was pelted by 11.25 inches of rain last week.

Needless to say the heavy rains and flooding stopped fieldwork for most of the week and left most lowland fields with standing water. Many of the smaller rivers and creeks were out of their banks causing crop damage and erosion, as well as blocking rural roads in some areas. The State averaged slightly over half a day suitable for fieldwork, with virtually no progress being made in the north-central, northeast, west-central and central districts.

The topsoil moisture supply is rated at 28 adequate and 72 percent surplus, as a high percentage of counties have at least some degree of flooding.

The surplus moisture rating for the State is similar to the extremely wet conditions that occurred in May 1995.

The proportion of ground intended for spring crops that has been worked at least once (excluding no-till), remains at 76 percent, unchanged from a week ago but around a week behind both last year's progress and the 5-year average for this date.

Corn planting is 77 percent complete, a week behind last year but three days ahead of the 72 percent normally planted by this date. The northwest,west-central and southwest districts are the most advanced at 90 percent or more complete.

Farmers in many areas are concerned that corn in low fields with standing water will need replanting and that some of these fields may not dry up in time to re-plant corn.

Sixty-one percent of the intended corn crop has emerged.

Thirteen percent of the expected soybean acreage is planted, a week behind last year's progress and four days behind the five-year average.

The northwest district is most advanced with soybean plantings with 28 percent in the ground, followed by the north-central, central and east-central districts at about 14 percent. Five percent of the beans have emerged.

Sixty-seven percent of the winter wheat is heading, virtually the same as last year but three days ahead of the 56 percent average. Wheat condition is rated as three percent very poor, 10 percent poor, 31 percent fair, 49 percent good and seven percent excellent, a sharp decline from a week earlier, as flood damage and vulnerability to disease during the wet weather have lowered reporter's expectations.

Temperatures for the week averaged slightly above normal in most areas. Rainfall averaged 5.83 inches, with nearly all areas receiving heavy rains. Only the northwest and southeast districts averaged less than four inches. The heaviest amounts by county were in Adair, Audrain, Lafayette, Madison and Cape Girardeau, all with 10 inches or more.

Water has over-run many levees along the smaller rivers, and seep water along the Mississippi has flooded fields, mainly in the Bootheel counties.

Several southwestern counties had hail and wind damage.

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