Aid in the Recovery of Flood-Damaged Fields

Flood waters that raged through the Missouri River Basin in 2011 will create a slippery road ahead for many Midwest farmers in 2012.  About 150,000 acres of crops were lost in Iowa and an estimated 2 million acres of crops were lost in the Dakotas and Ohio.

About 60% to 70% of farmland in northwest North Dakota and parts of northeast South Dakota never got planted last year between wet pockets and flooding, says Gary Geske, Latham Hi-Tech Hybrids’ corn product specialist for the north region.  In the February issue of Midwest Producer, Geske said cropland that was flooded in the previous season needs special considerations during the upcoming growing season.

All crops need N, P and K, but Geske says flood-damaged fields have even more need for fertilizer.  Micronutrients are like vitamins for the crop to keep it healthy in these types of soils.

Another way to help rebuild soils and to help flooded fields recover is by seeding cover crops this spring.  According to an article posted yesterday by Integrated Crop Management NEWS, cover crops can also benefit flood-damage soils in several ways:

  • Residue from the cover crop will help reduce soil erosion and crusting.
  • The upright cover crop residue will keep wind and sun off the soil surface, reducing wind erosion, sandblasting, and soil water evaporation.
  • Growing roots of the cover crop will help feed the soil biological life.

For more information about crop selection, seeding rates and methods, click here.