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Too Much Rain

Written by: Kent Thiesse

It’s hard to believe that in less than a ten day time period we can go from concerns over drought to excess rainfall, which is causing flooded fields in some areas. That is exactly what has happened dung the last few days of April and the first week of May in some parts of Southern Minnesota. Much of the rain came as part of intense thunderstorms with heavy downpours that caused some flash flooding, and featured strong winds and large hail in some areas. The wind and hail did cause some isolated building and property damage in rural areas, but had very minimal impact on the newly planted crops. 


Many locations across the region received 3-5 inches of rain, or more, from May 1-6, which has lead to considerable standing water in many fields. This could result in drown-out damage in portions of some newly planted fields, which may require replanting. It will also delay corn and soybean planting for numerous days in fields that are not yet planted. The good news is that we are still fairly early in the planting season, which should allow the corn and soybeans to be planted with very minimal impact on optimum yield potential, assuming producers can get the fields planted by mid-May. Farm operators that have large enough areas of planted fields affected by drown-out damage should contact their crop insurance agent, if they have replant coverage as part of their 2012 crop insurance policies.


The large total amount of precipitation in early May has alleviated drought concerns for the time being in most of the region. However, the intensity of the rainfall events caused considerable runoff of the moisture, which may limit full impact for total recharge of stored soil moisture.