Wicked Winds and Rain Wreak Havoc

April floodOnce again, this week we were reminded just how cruel Mother Nature can be! Crazy late-spring thunderstorms and tornados swept across Latham Country from eastern Nebraska through eastern Iowa on Monday evening. Heavy rains fell early this week across the Dakotas and into Minnesota and Wisconsin, too.

More than six inches of rain fell on Monday night in some areas of Franklin County, Iowa, with an additional 1.5 to 2 inches falling last night. Winds gusting at 70 miles per hour flattened crops, power lines and grain bins alike. The loss of property is disheartening, and our hearts go out to those who are trying to clean up and put the pieces together again. (Click here for tips on talking with consumers about storm damage.)

“The farmer has to be an optimist or he wouldn’t still be a farmer,” said Will Rogers, the cowboy entertainer who was known for his wit and wisdom. So today, we’re going to talk about the silver lining. Our crops needed moisture. Although they got more than they needed this week, the tile lines are running again. Moisture is building in the soil profile. With first crop hay baled, this rain will get the second cutting of alfalfa off to a good start. The warm temperatures and high humidity we’re experiencing will cause crops to grow like weeds!

Speaking of weeds, let’s hope the top soil dries enough soon for the corn and soybeans to get sprayed before they get too tall. Volunteer corn is prevalent in some areas this year, and volunteer corn must be treated as a weed. It not only competes with plants for moisture and nutrients, but volunteer corn is a food source for rootworm larvae. Volunteer corn that is not controlled by tasseling attracts corn rootworm beetles for egg laying.

It’s imperative that farmers continue scouting fields at least weekly to stay ahead of weed, insect and disease pressure. For an update on what Latham’s Regional Sales Managers are seeing in their territories, click on “From the Field” and choose a region from the drop-down box on the right-hand side.