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Severe storms, excessive rainfall plague many areas

Lead Summary

By Kent Thiesse
Farm Management Analyst & Vice President MinnStar Bank Lake Crystal
Large portions of Southern Minnesota, Northern Iowa, and Eastern South Dakota have been affected by severe storms and have received excessive rainfall during the week of June 14 to 20.
This has caused some property damage from strong winds, and caused considerable crop damage due to wind, hail, and standing water in fields. Most of the affected region received 3 to 5 inches of rain during the week, with several locations receiving 5 to 8 inches or more during the past week.
In some areas of central Minnesota, farm operators had not completed their 2014 corn and soybean planting prior to the heavy rainfall events in mid-June.
As of Monday, many rivers across Minnesota and surrounding states were above flood stage and still rising. Some farm operators with flood plain farmland that avoided the initial crop loss following the heavy rainfall events, are now experiencing major flooding and crop loss due to the rising rivers and streams.
As of June 20, the University of Minnesota Research and Outreach Center at Waseca had set a 100-year record for total rainfall in June, with 12.24 inches received in 2014, which compares to a normal average June rainfall of 4.66 inches. The all-time record monthly total rainfall at Waseca was 12.66 inches in September, 2010.
The severe storms in June have also caused considerable wind damage to farm buildings and grain handling set-ups in some areas, as well as some loss of livestock in southwest Minnesota, due to flash flooding.
There was widespread hail across the region, causing moderate to severe hail damage to crops. In the most severe cases, the hail damage was close to a total loss. However, for other farmers, the hail damage requires some decisions on whether or not to retain the damaged crop.
University research has shown that corn stands can be reduced up 50 percent with only a 20 percent reduction in yield potential, provided that the stand reductions are fairly uniform. Similarly, soybean stands can be reduced by up to one-third, with only a 10 percent or less loss of yield potential, with fairly uniform remaining stands.
It should be noted that there is a lot of variation in these results in actual field conditions, due to gaps between plants and the health of the remaining plants in the field.
In many areas of southern and central Minnesota, the heavy rains drowned-out portions of fields that were planted during May and early June.
Photo:  Luverne farm fields are seriously under water.

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