Too Much Water, More Coming, Corn Not So Much

Ossqss, in a comment here:

and Larry L. in an earlier one here:

Both pointed out the tropical cyclone set to dump a load on the Gulf Coast near New Orleans.

So a h/t to both.

Here’s what it looks like right now.

11 July 2019 Tropical Cyclone

11 July 2019 Tropical Cyclone

Tropical Cyclone 11 July 2019

Tropical Cyclone 11 July 2019

The Existing Problem

Here’s the present state of flood in the USA, from

USA Flood State 11 July 2019

USA Flood State 11 July 2019

We are already up to our eyeballs in tributaries of the Mississippi River that are in flood. It was worse down near New Orleans a few days ago, and it has only know gotten a little bit better. Just in time to dump a big load of wet on that drainage area.

All of that being a pretty good overlay for where we grow most of the corn and soybeans of the nation. The rest of the crops, including hay, being just as important and just as threatened.

So this Big Dump is going to make worse an already bad feed and grains situation.

Also, with that much flooding from one N/S edge of the USA to the other, even rail and truck transport will be disrupted.

We’re lining up for a Big Mess on top of an already bad mess.

So time to make sure your preparedness stuff is prepared, and I’ll not be planning any coast to coast trips any time soon… as “Here Comes The Rain Again,…. ” kicks off in my musical memory…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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11 Responses to Too Much Water, More Coming, Corn Not So Much

  1. andysaurus says:

    Send some our way E.M. We can usually use it here in Aus. Although it feels like we’ve just come through an unusually wet June here just south of Brisbane in Queensland. Today was a glorious winter day, sunny, 25 C. As they say over here “I wouldn’t be dead for quids”.
    Stay dry.

  2. H.R. says:

    andysaurus: “As they say over here “I wouldn’t be dead for quids”.”

    I haven’t seen that one used by any of the Aussie commenters on the blogs I follow. I like that one!


    A couple of weeks ago I said I’d give a report on the fields when out and about on errands. I’m in the Eastern part of the corn belt.

    I’ve only seen one field planted in corn. That is very odd around here. The saying around here is “Knee high by the 4th of July.” This corn was short of that by about 6 inches. I was surprised to see many fields in Winter wheat. We don’t get reliable snow cover, so not a lot of farmers “go for it” with a Winter wheat crop. I’d say there are about 3 times as many fields in wheat this year over most years, but the forecasts were for a colder, snowier Winter and we did get that, so it seems the farmers didn’t think it was much of a gamble this year. Lot’s of soybeans planted this year and not much corn.

    Water Problems
    Every field I saw had some water-damage. A lot of the fields just had one low spot so the damage was limited to maybe 1-5%. The worst I saw was a field on rolling terrain and all the low spots were drowned; about 30% loss. Other fields were running somewhere between 10% and 20% water damage.

    The ‘Rain Train’ reached our Eastern State later than Nebraska and Iowa and other states in the heart of the Midwest. It doesn’t appear to me that very many of our farmers got shut out of planting. Most all of them were able to get something in the ground, but then they are going to have a reduced crop from the water damage.

    I am still surprised by all the Winter wheat this year; most unusual. If my rough ‘n unscientific sampling is any indicator, there won’t be much corn to harvest this year, at least in our area. The beans seem to be doing OK other than the drowned spots.

  3. Bill in Oz says:

    H R “As they say over here “I wouldn’t be dead for quids”.”
    It’s an old saying here but a good one !
    Another of more recent vintage is simply ” Enjoy life. We’re a long time dead.”
    Whaet here is sown in Autumn with the ‘break’ – around April- May for harvest in November – December. But hardly anywhere gets snow. despite the lack of cover from any snow the wheat does just fine. So seems to me like your local framers have made a sensible decision

  4. E.M.Smith says:


    I’m sure they would if they could, but the wind goes the other way here…

    I say “they” as this is all happening the other side of the Rockies. Here in California we’ve had our usual dry weather, but cooler and more overcast with more “puffy winds” than we’ve had since about 1975 (and The Great Pacific Climate Shift).


    Per the wheat:

    I don’t know the practices there, but it is possible they plant the wheat each year and in years where it isn’t snowy or isn’t going to work, just treat it as Green Manure to be disked under in spring. That would be a reasonable strategy for uncertainty.

    You have a choice of fallow or planted. If fallow, you need to fertilize and disc to plant corn in spring and deal with weeds. If planted to green manure you have fewer weeds and can just disc and use less fertilizer. If weather is “right” you get a winter wheat crop while everyone else is blocked out of planting by wet conditions.

    Usually a legume is planted for green manure (at least around here) as they fix nitrogen and really help a lot; but almost anything green can be used if needed. I don’t know the relative seed costs of wheat vs “other stuff” so don’t know if it would be silly on that front.

    I’d expect local farmers to have developed a “body of lore” about when to plant winter wheat and when to just leave it fallow. As that decision will have been made about last August to September, looking at what was happening then, forecast then, would be interesting.

    I remember this kind of thing being discussed in some class or other in High School. Don’t remember which one, but in a farm town could have been any of several from math problems to biology class… (It was in Biology that we were taught how to spot “Wool Sorters Disease” i.e. topical anthrax…) So in “some class” we looked at decisions of ( fallow | green manure | catch crop / disking under | winter crop ). I found it an interesting introduction to decision making in uncertainty. Most of the locals thought it a bit silly.

    Why? We grew mostly peaches (so no decision really) and rice (so also no decision as the fields were laid out and contoured for rice field flooding). Also, the place was dead flat so the lessons on contour planting on hills were snicker fodder too. There were a few folks with pear orchards, almonds, and a few other things like pasture; but no real row crops other than pumpkins (canned in the same cannery as the peaches) and some melons.

    Sometime in the 60s to 70s that started to change. Lots of tomatoes going in for the processed tomato canneries. That started about 50 miles south of us and never quite made it the last 15 miles… Then Kiwi Fruit were brought to market ( worked out by a local Japanese Nurseryman and his Brother).

    So mostly talk in the restaurant was about what to plant in the orchards between the trees. Fallow / disked up, or some fast crop & add more fertilizer, or just spend the money to grow a green manure and did that really work better than just buying nitrogen… The things people talk about in a farm town restaurant over morning coffee ;-) IIRC, most of the time “fallow” won. Probably due to it being the least work and lowest cost… Just drag the disc over the field and be done.

    But I have no idea what farmers back east would do. Very different conditions and crops grown.

  5. cdquarles says:

    Here, the main crops are wheat, corn, soybeans and cotton. There are smaller crops of melons, pecans, peaches, pears, apples, blackberries, and raspberries. Blueberries and grapes don’t work as well; though some of the nearby ridges do have them. Then there is tree farming and ranching, mostly cattle. Sod farming used to be big; but the housing bust a decade ago hurt that. Hog megafarming was tried, though not where I am now, and some chicken raising. There is a chicken processing plant nearby. With the 60 day corn we have, that’s going to see some impact from the storm. Cotton, though, is much later, where harvest mostly comes in before it really starts raining heavily in mid-November. Our old garden had collards, turnips, peanuts, corn, apples, and melons, with occasional potatoes. The yard had two big pecan trees, and most years we could get $50 to $100 (back in the late 60s/early 70s) selling them to neighbors, and while giving some away.

  6. Ossqss says:

    So far Barry has not gotten his tropical act together. Keep in mind these are flight level readings.

  7. Power Grab says:

    I’ve got the Weather Channel on since nothing else appeals to me. They keep showing the radar of that storm. I keep seeing a strange-looking, square-shaped void in the middle of the clouds.

    It’s so weird to see square-shaped cloud formations or voids in clouds. There used to be a big one off the West Coast. More recently, I’ve seen bit square shapes in the clouds (or precip?) over the Rocky Mountains. And now this. It makes me wonder if they’re using EMF to try to keep the rain off New Orleans. It’s bad enough the Mississippi River will flood and wreak havoc, so I can understand if they want to keep the rain off New Orleans that might otherwise fall straight down.

  8. Power Grab says:

    This part of country usually sees almost nothing but hard, red winter wheat. They usually plant in September and hope to harvest starting in May, sometimes on into June or later if the combines can’t get in the field on time.

    I thought up north (where those horrendous floods were earlier this year that prevented them from planting) if they planted wheat, it was spring wheat. I think you all have mentioned buckwheat as an alternate. I like buckwheat! :-) (pancakes, that is)

    I wonder how oats would do for a short, cool season crop. I understand they grew oats on the northern UK islands, back in the day. That’s gotta be a short growing season up there!

  9. Ossqss says:

    Barry is slowly getting together, unfortunately looks like a direct path of the heavy precipitation going to go right over NO.

    Hunter info shows considerably strengthening even with heavy shear.

  10. Larry Ledwick says:

    Current display for winds at 17:05 UTC 7/12/19 @ 2500 ft ASL

  11. H.R. says:

    @Ossqss – I hope they fixed or replaced the pumps. The pumps that didn’t work due to the repair money going somewhere else was quite a scandal, yet I don’t recall anyone being held accountable.

    For all the dirt they’ve swept under the rug, there should be a lump the size of an elephant under New Orleans’ carpet.

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