Spring Flooding Brings Challenges

Spring Flooding Brings Challenges

July 25, 2016

This Week in Louisiana Agriculture

Last March, Louisiana was hit with an unprecedented level of flooding. Homes, businesses, and highways were submerged causing severe damages. Farmland was no exception. More than 300 thousand acres of crops were affected by the wet spring according to a recent LSU Ag-Center survey. 

Despite the level of damage that a rainy Spring caused for farmers, the real challenge is just beginning. Once the water from the floods subsided, farmers were left with difficult decisions concerning their crops for the year. 

Franklin Parish corn and soybean grower, Todd Guimbellot, had to decide which crop to plant when the water left. 

“We just didn’t know what to do to be honest with you," Guimbellot said. “As the water receded, we just made decisions and planted soybeans up to where the floodwaters had receded. And so, on the same row we have corn and soybeans, which has been a challenge.” 

Recovering his crops from March’s flood damage put an enormous strain on Guimbellot’s pocketbook. The Louisiana farmer lost 700 acres of corn in the damage, leaving him with all new expenses to cover the labor, fuel, equipment, and seed costs needed to replant.

Irrigation is also a major issue for those rows of corn and soybeans that have stayed dry during the wet season. While Guimbellot may have produced some viable corn in certain rows, at the bottom of those same rows, Guimbellot planted soybeans in early May. 

“The soybean crop seems to be doing fine, except now all of this excessive heat, you know, we’re worried about pollination at this point in time, so we’re having to irrigate,” Guimbellot said.

Corn and soybeans both need to be watered throughout June and July. However, now that the month of July is coming to a close and corn will soon be harvested, soybean irrigation may face some challenges. 

“I figure we’ll have to irrigate soybeans for another month after we harvest the corn. Whenever we run the combine, we really don’t know what to expect — we’re gonna try to cut us a turn-row in the middle of the field, but on the tops of the ridges, you know, on those fields we will run over the poly pipe,” Guimbellot said. “I’m sure it’s gonna tear it up and we’re just gonna have to adjust as we go along and just do whatever we have to do to continue to keep these beans irrigated.”

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