At a loss

By Sonja Gjerde

The flood of 2011 decimated land surrounding the Missouri River in northwest Missouri, subsequently drought has severely diminished yields in 2012.

Highly productive soil has lost over half of its yields or has been taken completely out of production. An estimated 30,000 acres of land had sand damage; some had inches of cover, where some had feet.

“We still have about 10,000 acres of land not in production,” said Jim Crawford, superintendent of the Graves-Chapple research center.

Areas, about 20,000 acres, were planted and face incredible loss. This highly farmable land typically harvests 200 to 250 bushels an acre, this year farmers are lucky to reach 150.

“This year the majority of (productivity) was about the moisture,” said Atchison County Sheriff, Dennis Martin. “Some of it didn’t even sprout.”

The issue with a drought following a flood is the soil affected by sand deposits had little opportunity to regain moisture. It may be years before farmers and researchers understand the consequences of two years of extreme conditions on cropland productivity.

“All of this was formerly crop ground,” said Dennis Martin, Atchison County sheriff on Saturday, Sept. 21 in areas near the Missouri River. Above is sand deposits severely limiting the land’s chance to re-gain productivity.

— Edited by Megan LaManna

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One response to “At a loss

  1. Good job of describing the lingering impact of flooding. I think you needed a little transition to explain the flooding turned into drought. When was the 20,000 acres planted? Also, 150 bushel isn’t a train wreck in most parts of the Midwest. You’ve given a little perspective with the 200-250 bushel comment, but most farmers suffering with drought this year would be happy to post that kind of yield.

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