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  • Last modified 71 days ago (July 10, 2019)

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Flooding inundates farms, destroys crops

Staff writer

Hundreds of acres of farmland were flooded Thursday after intense thunderstorms dumped up to 7½ inches on northern Marion County. Durham’s main street was swamped by up to a reported 50 inches of water and Marion Reservoir swelled to record levels above its capacity, forcing release of water that led to flooding downstream.

Alan and Neal Hett of Marion had 200 acres of wheat standing in flood water after Thursday’s rain, and at least 100 acres were underwater.

“The flooded wheat has dirt on it and could sprout if we get more rain,” Alan Hett said.

The day before, they had harvested a large field of bottomland wheat north of Marion that was yielding 160 acres per bushel in spots, according to the combine monitor. Hett said the overall yield was 109. A strip along a creek is still uncut.

“A lot of our wheat made only 30,” Hett said, “so it may just be another average year.”

Hett was concerned that some corn that was already tasseling was underwater and wouldn’t pollinate after the water went down, drastically cutting yields.

Farmers not affected by flooding had their own challenges.

After an extremely wet spring, many were battling heavy rain that prevented them from finishing wheat harvest, planting double-crop beans, and putting up hay.

Ronnie Carlson of Lincolnville had swathed several waterways of brome before Thursday’s big rain, and the windrows were washed away. He still had wheat to harvest and beans to plant.

Terry Deines of Ramona said Deines Farms received almost 5 inches of rain Thursday.

“If we would have had one more good day, we could have finished the harvest,” Deines said.

Their wheat acreage was smaller than usual, just 1,000 acres compared with 2,200 to 2,300 acres in a normal year. Wet weather in the fall and a late bean harvest prevented a double-crop planting of wheat.

That meant a larger than usual planting of soybeans this spring, and that, too, was not without problems.

“We had a hard time getting the beans out, and now we struggle to get beans in,” Deines said.

They were planning to double-crop some wheat acreage with beans after harvest. They will have more than 3,000 acres of beans compared to a normal 2,000 acres. They also have 900 acres of corn.

“We should have planted more corn,” Deines said. “The corn is beautiful.”

Getting hay put up without it being rained on also has been a challenge. Some brome still waiting to be harvested is so tall and tangled, it will be hard to swath and bale, Deines said.

The Jerry Cady Insurance Agency in Marion, which provides crop insurance for farmers, was not available Tuesday for comment. Cady has said in the past that crop insurance at least covers expenses farmers incur in planting their crops, helping them to keep their heads above water.

Last modified July 10, 2019

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