Rainy Days and Thursdays

By Cheri Zagurski
DTN Managing Editor

OMAHA (DTN) — As I write this at zero-dark-thirty Thursday, rain is again, not so much falling on as assaulting, the Omaha area.

Omaha had the dubious honor of posting the most rainfall nationwide in a 24-hour period ending at 6 p.m. Wednesday — 1.78 inches — according to DTN Ag Weather. On Tuesday, Omaha also earned the top spot with 1.71 inches.

It’s not just eastern Nebraska, though, racking up the inches. On Sunday, Milwaukee, Wis., was #1 in the nation with 1.62 inches; Saturday it was Rockford, Ill., with 2.24; Friday saw 2.15 in Springfield, Ill., rain gauges.

The take-away here is there are some very wet areas in the Midwest corn/soybean belt. Even the last day of the 2014 Farm Progress Show was cancelled Thursday due to rain and lightning.

As some corn yellows due to Nitrogen loss and some soybeans suffer wet feet, one DTN reader asked us why we weren’t writing more about the wet crops and why the market wasn’t noticing.

We get these kinds of agonized calls and emails every year. I posed the question to my group of reader consultants and here are some of their responses.

John Moore of Manhattan, Ill., said corn that didn’t drown out early is now stunted and yellow. "I can tell you that we have had 4 to 5 inches of rain this week here in northeast Illinois," Moore wrote, "and the pond holes are filled again. If the corn didn’t drown in the pond holes earlier, it was obviously stunted and yellow. Not much crop on any of those plants. Same with beans. If they survived being under water long enough, there was nothing but a stem for the first foot before they had surviving leaves. None of that stem produced flowers or grain."

"So, yes, I would say anybody with wet holes is going to be affected, yield-wise. And this year, God forbid you tried to replant, because the minute you got the seed in the ground, here comes the rain again just like the itsy bitsy spider never got up that water spout."

In Jefferson, Iowa, Pete Bardole is waiting for a break in the precipitation to plant some cover crops. "It is wet here in Greene County, Iowa. We would like to get cover crops on and we are doing it with a Hagie by ground. We almost get dry and it rains again.

"Crops look good except for a lot of sudden death in soy beans. I have heard of corn dying early; I would guess from disease. Most of our corn is just denting. We are a long way from harvest."

For every yin, there is a yang. For some, the rain is a blessing. Douglas Zillinger of Logan, Kan., explains why the rain is a good thing in his area of north-central Kansas.

"While we had anywhere from 2 to 6 inches of rain last night [Wednesday] and haven’t been able to get in the fields to put up hay or work summer fallow for two weeks because of little showers, I haven’t heard any complaining yet. We have one place that had no measurable moisture on it since May, so we are feeling blessed to get some rain to build our moisture profile for winter wheat.

Reader Jeff Littrell of Chatfield, Minn., says conditions this growing season started out wet, but are now too dry in his area of eastern Minnesota.

"We started the year out wet. Even though we have been above yearly moisture — 4 inches above normal year to date — we have been below [normal] level for the last two months — 2 to 3 inches of moisture [below] by monthly standards.

"We started in June trying to haul two years of manure from our cattle lot … over 300 loads. We wanted to spread then direct seed alfalfa. Mother Nature ‘showed us’ again; we didn’t get the spreading done until late July, which was way too late for direct seeding and too dry at this point. On to plan B, inline rip for the compaction and get ready to direct seed in mid-August; too dry until seven days ago, and we aren’t going to direct seed. So, plan C — 80 lbs. of rye grain and 25 lbs. of alfalfa and seed hopefully in early September.

"The Chinese say may you live in interesting times. Well we are in very interesting times and I don’t think that will change anytime soon."

Even here in the newsroom, rainfall has been the topic of conversation of late. DTN Senior Analyst Darin Newsom and DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist Bryce Anderson were scheduled to speak again Thursday at the Farm Progress Show. However, with the show cancelled, they are making their way back to Nebraska via Interstate highway.

DTN Reporter Russ Quinn lives 35 miles north of Omaha, Neb., in Washington County. "At home we had 1.5" when I got home last night, dumped the gauge and I went out this morning there was 4.20" in it!" he said. "We had .70" earlier in the week, so total this week at my house we only had about 6.5 inches of rain. In June we had like 10 inches in July, and most of August we didn’t have much of anything, rain-wise. Now 6.5" in one week."

For me and my house in Gretna, Neb., southwest of Omaha, I also have over 6 inches in my rain gauge from this week. I need to remember to empty it, as from the forecast I’m pretty sure we’re going to be getting more rain to measure.

If you’d like to be a part of our reader consulting group, send me an email at cheri.zagurski@dtn.com.