Weekend rains a mixed blessing for crops
Sometimes you ask for a little but get a lot.
Randy Svitak, of rural Marion, had been hoping for two inches of rain; his soybeans, milo, and corn were starting to get pretty dry.
Over the weekend, his hopes were answered … and then some. His land was drenched with 4.5 inches of rain, flooding the low-lying parts of his fields.
At its peak on Sunday, the water was approximately knee high in the ravines in Svitak’s fields and had covered a section of road near his land north of Pilsen.
The water had washed out some of Svitak’s soybeans and milo, but he said the rain was good for the rest of the crops not in a dangerous area. As the sun broke through Monday, there was only a strip of water in his fields.
“It’s got to go somewhere,” Svitak said of the water. “There’s nothing you can do.”
Marion County extension agent Ricky Roberts thinks the rain from this past weekend is what the corn crop needed.
“We needed 2 inches really, really bad. Everybody was ready for it,” Roberts said. “I think this is a big-dollar rain for Marion County.”
However, Roberts is worried that some fields in northwest Marion County still have large sections under water. One farmer northwest of Durham told Roberts that he had received six inches of rain.
“A plant is no different from a human; it can drown,” Roberts said.
Roberts also said that some of the water rushing through these fields could bring filth with it that could damage crops.
But, a farmer is forever an optimist, because times could always be worse.
“If I had a choice, I’d rather have too much water than a drought,” Svitak said, “because you don’t raise anything in a drought; the pastures even dry up.”
Svitak also said that the timing of this rain couldn’t have been better. He had already finished harvesting his wheat in almost ideal conditions; there was no mud or rain and Svitak reaped a bountiful crop.
“Two weeks ago would have really hurt us,” he said.
Roberts echoed Svitak’s thoughts.
“I think it’s probably a little too much at one time,” he said. “But the crops are all planted and the wheat harvest is in. From that stand point, it makes it a good time for rain.”
Svitak said that part of farming in Marion County is dealing with a deluge like the storms this past weekend twice or even three times a year. With 6 inches of rain in June, this is the second time this year his fields have flooded.
“This is nothing new,” he said. “It happens a couple of times a year.”
Last modified July 8, 2010