As the water recedes in parts of Nebraska and Iowa, and other flooded areas across the United States, the work is just beginning. Typically the 2011 Floods have washed out the nutrient-rich topsoil and replaced it with a layer of silt. In addition, there is debris removal and lots of erosion and repair of infrastructure.
It isn’t possible to just add more topsoil to the existing land. The process of restoring nutrients to the soil takes a lot of time. The structure of soil takes a long period of time to form. In addition, a number of growers have gone to a no-till process which helps stabilize this formation over time and allows the nutrients to reside in the 6-10 inch layer of the soil. With a 6-inch carpet of silt, soil uniformity and depth will not be consistent across a particular field. (Source: Flood damage on farms could be felt for years, Sept 5, 2011) All soil testing history is gone with the flooded land. New information will need to be collected to examine the current state of the land
The process begins with the proper cleanup of the land and specific soil testing. Also, the article, Flood damage on farms could be felt for years, stressed the importance of farmers planting rye or other cover crops in the very near future to build up soil nutrients and avoid more erosion in the coming months. Some companies I have talked to estimate the process of restoring nutrients back into the soil through crop rotation and nutrient application will take 5- 7 years at a minimum
Yesterday, September 12, 2011 a Webinar entitled, “Flood Recovery for Cropland” was aired and archived. There is some good information on this site and in the presentations. The site is updated on a daily basis and has a lot of good information and resources for dealing with flooded property.