Iowa officials assessing flood damage to crops
DES MOINES (AP) — Iowa officials and farmers are trying to assess the extent of damage to corn and soybean crops from recent flooding.
The Des Moines Register reports that the floods have slowed much of the state's corn and soybean harvest.
Widespread thunderstorms and torrential rains contributed to flooding throughout the state. The Cedar River in Cedar Rapids crested on Tuesday.
State Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey says many farmers hope to start harvesting in the next few days, but it may take as long as two weeks before that process can begin.
Potential crop damage is adding stress to a year where many growers are struggling to post a profit. Farmers are hoping strong yields will help offset lower corn and soybean prices.
"Even if everything was going perfectly, the dollars might not cover the operating loans needed to put the crop in the ground," Northey said.
Problems the rains have caused include submerged crop, mold, sprouting and broken cornstalks. These issues make it difficult for soybeans and corn to be used as food or feed, and farmers can lose money if too much of the grain is damaged.
"Losing 20 or 30 percent of your crop makes it a lot tighter," farmer Kevin Maloney said. He added that expenses such as seed, fertilizer and rents haven't dropped enough to match lower corn and soybean prices.
Officials said they are trying to assess how many acres have been impacted by flooding, but it's likely to be thousands. Even before the flooding, the US. Department of Agriculture estimated that national farm income was forecast to fall 12 percent this year to $71.5 billion from one year ago.