Local farmer feels impact of heavy rains

AXTELL, Neb. (KSNB) - All the rain Tuesday night won't help some Nebraska farmers whose fields are still flooded from past storms.

John Driscoll replanted portions of his fields after it rained, but more rain drowned those crops out. (Source: Kelsey Dickeson, KSNB)

John Driscoll farms 1,500 acres in Axtell. He tried to spray for weeds Tuesday, but the ground is so saturated his equipment got stuck. Driscoll said he's never experienced anything like this before.

"The further the season went, the worse conditions got, and it really shows," Driscoll said. "On our later stuff it's the uneven stand, pale crops, flooded areas. The earlier planted corn seems to be the best that we have."

When crops are submerged in standing water, there's no oxygen for them, which can make it tough for beginning corn plants to grow.

Driscoll started planting his corn and soybeans in late April. The heavy rains flooded areas of his fields, which forced him to replant in June.

Unfortunately, it rained again. Those crops drowned out, and never came up.

"We're past the point of being able to replant and harvest a profitable crop. At this point it's up to the insurance companies," Driscoll said.

Crops in many sections of his fields are drowned out. Others are growing unevenly. Driscoll said a lot of that is from compaction caused by the heavy equipment. The crops can't get through the hard compaction layers.

This makes some crops more competitive than others. It'll directly affect his yield.

Driscoll's original yield goal was 250. Now, they're hoping for about 200. He said they won't know the loss until harvest.

"It's just poor conditions leading to poorer conditions, and kind of snow balling to make up what we'll call 2019," Driscoll said.

Driscoll does have crop insurance. He said it'll help ensure he doesn't lose a ton of money, but it's not as good as what he would get on a good year.

Crop insurance can cover farmers on up to 85 percent of base prices. Multi-peril crop insurance covers almost all natural disasters, including floods.