Heavy rains bring new round of problems for farmers - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Heavy rains bring new round of problems for farmers

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For Madison County farmers, the change from last summer's scorching drought to this summer's heavy rains provided a new round of problems.

"Probably the wettest spring and summer that I can remember," said third generation farmer Wilson Mann of Owens Crossroads, as he looked out on sections of corn stalks brown, flat and rotting in his fields. "These cornfields have been flooded three times. Some of it has been replanted twice and a few of it three times." 

Mann described a spring growing season that got off to a promising start, with a blockbuster wheat yield and a strong start for corn and soybeans. But then came the deluge of late June and early July. As the rains came down, the Flint and Paint Rock rivers came up. 

"I've lost a hundred acres or more of corn and some beans. Completely wiped out," Mann said. "It would have been a great year. A great yield, a great year. But when you start taking ten to fifteen percent off the top, that hurts." 

For all the damage done in fields that flooded, corn and soybean crops have been doing better in areas that did not, even if cooler weather slowed down the growing season and the heavy rains did leach some fertilizer out of the soil.

Mann said he hoped the damaged and undamaged crops combined will add up to a good season. "Some of this corn will be a zero," he granted. "We're just hoping for a good average, a mediocre crop." 

If normal summer weather patterns persist for the remainder of the season, he predicted, most area farmers should be in for a good, if somewhat delayed, harvest by September and October. A real roll of the dice could come in the second, or third replacement plantings of flood damaged soybeans which could be ready for harvest by early November... unless they're threatened by frost.

"All farmers are optimists," he said. "If we weren't, we wouldn't plant the crop."

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