Archive for Tuesday, July 3, 2001

Soybeans, corn damaged in flood

About 15,000 acres of cropland harmed in Leavenworth County

July 3, 2001

An estimated 15,000 acres of cropland in Leavenworth County were damaged two weeks ago when Stranger Creek pushed out of its banks.

That was the conclusion of three agriculture and conservation experts after they toured the county last week.

According to a report submitted to the state Farm Services Agency office, about 5,600 acres of corn and about 9,400 acres of soy beans suffered at least 30 percent loss. About 2,000 acres of soy beans were a total loss, said Lee Hartford, a farm loan specialist with the state FSA office in Manhattan.

"There are several thousand acres of crops that have quite a bit of damage," Hartford said.

It's possible that farmers who suffered losses will be eligible for low-interest federal loans.

"It could take awhile before we actually receive that designation," Hartford said. "It's sometimes hard to assess the damage until the crops are harvested."

In some cases, the job's not difficult.

"If there's nothing there that's green, it's not going to amount to anything," he said.

During the week of June 18, Stranger Creek flowed out of its banks. Although the creek, which runs north to south through the county, was at record-high levels in some locations, three county experts say floodwaters didn't cause an unusual amount of damage.

The three men who toured the county were Sy Nyhart, county extension agent; Rick Abel, executive director in Leavenworth County for the Farm Service Agency; and Gary Rader, district conservationist for National Resources and Conservation Service.

The three drove through the county, surveying damage to corn and soybean fields, as well as to the Stranger Creek bed.

"What we saw was that the flood was restricted primarily up and down the Stranger Creek valley," Nyhart said. "There was very little of anything else. It didn't seem it was much worse than normal flooding we have on Stranger Creek. The damage doesn't seem to be much worse than just a normal flood. We were surprised at the lack of debris in the fields."

Nyhart said he's not certain why the floodwater left behind little trash.

"There was some, but not much," he said. "Consequently, the flood damage as far as crops and cropland is concerned doesn't seem to be more than normal."

However, he and the other two men detected substantial damage to the creek bed. The damage was so severe in two places that bridge supports were washed away from the bank.

"The water was moving very, very fast," Nyhart said. "That was a bad as I've seen it. Those things were worse than we've seen them, but the cropland, we didn't think was much worse than normal."

Nyhart said it was apparent that some farmers had planted fields before the early June flooding along Stranger Creek. Those crops washed away. So the fields were replanted, shortly before the flooding two weeks ago.

"The replants were just coming up after the water had been over it," Nyhart said.

Damage to conservation measures was more severe in northern Leavenworth County than is was in the southern portion of the county, Rader said.

"We didn't feel there was enough damage to conservation measures to sign up for the emergency program," he said. "Only in the north end of the county did we see damage to conservation practices."

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