I came across this story, “MISSOURI RIVER FLOOD: Recovery begins” by Katie Novak in the Midwest Producer Magazine. It talks about the damage the flood waters have done to the farmers land. Here are some items mentioned by the article that I wanted to highlight.”
John Wilson – Burt County Extension was quoted in this article and he made the following remarks:
- “If floodwater sits on the soil for a long period of time, it gets to be a fine silt and cracks. The soil will get a real hard layer on top, preventing seeds from penetrating unless the farmer gets timely rain long enough for it to germinate down”
- Soil compaction is not an issue while the ground is soft… As the water came in, the soil was saturated, filling the pores in the soil with water which makes it more resistant to compaction. If a person drove over it with a tractor when there is air in the pores, it’s a lot easier to compact the soil. (Note Once dry, the soil becomes very compact because the air is removed. )
- In general, water won the soil for a prolonged period of time becomes an anaerobic condition and a lot of the microbes in the soil won’t be eliminated, but their population or density will be greatly reduced.
Other people like Rob Chatt are experimenting with cover crop.
- Rob has planted a mixture of cereal rye and radishes by airplane.
- In some places Rob has four to six inches of sand on top of his soil.
- Rob would like to see an inch of rain to help with his fall cover crop.
These are just a couple of examples of people who are working to recover their land. I have talked to other farmers who are starting over with a new set of soil testing history and looking at the costs of filling in gullies and trenches and recovering irrigation pipe. One grower told me that he estimated that it would take 5 to 6 years to restore the soil nutrition back into his land. Check out the article and pictures. There is quite a bit of work ahead.
I will leave you with this video that was taken last month of the intersection of Interstate 29 and Highway 34. There is a lot of work to do not only for growers, but for businesses and road infrastructure. Check it out.
Picture Kansas City District