I mean… farmers are always praying for rain in the summer time, but this is getting out of control.
The summer of 2018 has been one for the record books. The rainfall this summer in the Northeast has been nothing short of astounding. Water as far as the eye can see for weeks at a time.
You’ve seen the fields that now look like ponds. Creeks turning into small rivers, overflowing their banks and reaching the crops. So what does all of this mean for the farmer?
“Tell Me How I’m Supposed to Breathe With No Air”
Oxygen depletion is usually the immediate cause of damage and death in a plant. Though if it is moving water, the damage may be less than that of stagnant water due to higher levels of dissolved oxygen in the moving water. Though high currents in moving water can also damage the plant.
The longer a plant is underwater, the longer it goes with lessened oxygen levels resulting in severe damage or death to the plant.
“I’m So Sick, Infected With…”
Just as a human, in harsh unfamiliar conditions are more prone to disease, so are plants. Even after floodwaters have receded, crops may still have lingering effects due to weakened defenses caused by the lack of oxygen and also nitrogen loss. Large amounts of water are known to cause root and stalk rot, which will severely stifle the growing process of the plant, or in some cases kill the plant.
Flooding can also result in loss of nitrogen in the soil. Nitrogen, aside from oxygen, has the greatest effect on plant growth of any other element. So high levels of nitrogen loss will always result in poor plant health, smaller plants, and lesser yields.
“Rising Up to The Challenge of Our Rival”
It’s no surprise that flooded crops will almost always be delayed in their development. When this happens they may not achieve canopy closure, (a fulness of the plant growth that protects the bottom of the plant) allowing the weeds to beat out the plants for nutrition, water, sunlight, pretty much everything.
Weed control can get really expensive on multiple fronts. The chemicals to kill these weeds come at a high cost, but if not used, the crop yield will most certainly be low. So it is a numbers game at this point…
Needless to say, for farmers, all of this rain (for a lack of a better word) sucks. Not only are crops going to have poor yields with lower plant nutrition, getting in the field without causing damage with equipment has been next to impossible.
So pray for the farmers, join in their frustration with all of this rain, and stop doing your rain dances, please.