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Flooding Delays Farmers’ Planting Schedule

Flooded cornfields, submerged telephone poles and a lone horse grazing near the flood water’s edge. Third generation farmer Don Shoemaker has seen this before in Jackson county.

“The flooding isn’t unusual for us. We have the flooding a lot of times during the winter which is an inconvenience but it doesn’t necessarily impact crop production,” said Shoemaker.

Flooding in April and May is a different story. Recent storms have delayed the planting of seasonal crops like corn.

“Well ideally it would have been dry and ready to plant in the middle of April and so anytime the rain would like to stop, we’d certainly welcome that,” said Shoemaker.

When it comes to corn, timing and good weather are key.

“It’s heat dependent on the way that it matures, so it needs a certain amount of what they call ‘growing degree days’ to become mature. If it’s planted too late, it doesn’t mature either fully or as far as it should and that leads to extra costs like drying and storage.”

Don said it could take up to a week for this water to go down, but even then the fields wouldn’t be ready for planting. He said it could take another five to seven days before those fields are dry enough to work and two weeks without rain is a lot to ask from mother nature.

“You always hope to see those sunny days and when it gets to that day you hope they haven’t changed the forecast.”

Shoemaker still has the option of using a shorter season corn or switching some of his acres to soybeans. In the meantime, he’ll be hoping for clear skies.

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