Soybeans take hit from flooding
Five or six inches of rain — in places more — over the last several days have swelled the Neosho River and its tributaries over their banks.
For farmers, even those hardened by years of having to deal with Mother Nature, it was a slap in the face.
Hereabouts the main cash crops are corn and soybeans. While corn for the most part has been harvested, that for the beans is just beginning. And for those in low-lying fields, the prospects are dim.
“It’s not going to be good,” said Garry Daniels, of the effects of the floodwaters.
Daniels and his brother Dale — as well as sons — farm scores of acres along the Neosho south of Humboldt, including the rich soil in bottoms just north of the river, dissected by the Allen-Neosho counties line.
Daniels said his beans were in growth stages, their leaves still mostly green with a few yellow ones, an indicator of approaching maturity.
“If the water gets over the tops of them (it has in some places) and stays for a few hours it’ll kill the plants,” Daniels said, turning the lime-green plants to a deathly gray.
“The water suffocates and weakens the stocks,” Daniels explained, with little hope of restoration. Mold also is a concern.
Soybeans standing like rows of tall, thin soldiers, with handfuls of pods dangling, can sometimes survive flooding without too much damage, he added, though that, too, is a guessing game.
THE NEOSHO crested west of Iola Tuesday morning at 19.87 feet, nearly five feet above flood stage of 15 feet. By early afternoon it was at 19.75 feet and slowly dropping, said Toby Ross, Iola water plant supervisor.
“The creeks are still running,” not halted by backwater that would slow out-flow, “and if we don’t get any more (heavy) rain we should be OK.”
SHAWN GEFFERT was drawing a trailer loaded with cows and calves from north of Humboldt Hill on Tuesday afternoon, just coming from a flooded pasture.
“They probably would have been OK, but I didn’t want to take any chances,” Geffert said. “Besides, the calves were ready to be weaned.”
Geffert said several of his soybean fields were suffering from the excess water. He fears the water will seep into the heavy pods, making them prone to rot.
He also worries that the floodwaters, thick with sediment, will adversely affect crops.
“It builds up on the stalks and the pods and makes a mess when you combine.”
“Dirty” beans can mean a reduced price when it comes time to sell.
Geffert is thankful he harvested a patch of soybeans last week.
“They were a little more moist than I would have liked, but they were really good and I didn’t want them to flood,” knowing from past experience that that could spell doom.