Category Archives: flood
This week is the anniversary of the 2019 Bomb Cyclone. Perhaps you’ve thought of that, perhaps you haven’t. I think this event for Nebraskans will forever be etched in our minds. Some may be reflecting on last year’s calving season being exceptionally difficult in February. Some lost additional animals to the blizzard/flooding in March. Some experienced flooding in our homes, fields, property. Some of us housed family/friends. Many of us found different routes with closed roads. Many of us helped others in the aftermath and/or donated money/supplies. Recovery is a process; a year later, recovery is still in process for many in our State.
Traumatic events, whether this one or others we experience in life, can conjur up a variety of feelings within us. Whether anger, sadness, fear, overwhelmed, relief, gratitude, or others, it’s important to honestly acknowledge our feelings. Children may not always know how to express their feelings, but having them draw pictures and talk about them can help. Michelle Krehbiel, Extension Youth Development Specialist, shares that acknowledging feelings is part of the recovery process. She also shares a number of other things to consider in the recovery process. These include:
“Engage in healthy ways to cope with stress (exercising, reading, journaling); Being gentle with oneself (show yourself kindness, reflect on how far you’ve come); Accept kindness and help of others (allow others to help and show you their care and concern); Use your social support system (talk with trusted friends/family/members of faith community); and Help others (volunteering can aid healing).” You can read more at: https://disaster.unl.edu/disaster-anniversaries.
What Michelle shared regarding ways to aid in recovery is so true for me. Regardless of the traumatic or difficult things in life, it is important to acknowledge our feelings, talk with others, and find positive ways to manage the stress. I know managing stress and the feelings associated with negative stress aren’t things that most in our farm community wish to talk about. Yet it’s so important.
I shared some of this during pesticide trainings this winter as well. I know it’s uncomfortable to talk about, yet we may not know what others are going through. I would encourage us to keep checking in with each other. If you’re struggling, please reach out to someone; you do matter! If you wish to talk to someone anonymously, the Rural Response Hotline 800-464-0258 offers free counseling, financial, and legal services. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 800-273-8255. I’m so grateful for those who’ve trusted me with their stories/struggles and I’m so grateful for those who have listened to and helped me! It takes courage, strength, and vulnerability to share and seek help; that is also being ‘Nebraska Strong’.
ARC-IC: I haven’t talked much about ARC-IC as an option for the farm bill. However, for those who had farms with 100% prevent plant or significant corn or soybean yield losses in 2019, it may be something to consider. I wrote a blog post sharing more at: https://jenreesources.com/2020/03/06/arc-ic-and-illinois-tool/.
Nebraska Soil Health/Cover Crop Conference Presentations: If you missed the Feb. 13th Soil Health/Cover Crop Conference or were unable to attend, the recorded presentations can be viewed at: https://go.unl.edu/n55x.
Nebraska Department of Ag (NDA) Pesticide Number: NDA no longer has an 800 or 877 phone number. If you received a post card for your $25 bill for pesticide training this year, it has an 877 number on the back. Please do not call that number as a scammer has picked it up. You can reach NDA at (402) 471-2351.
Crop Updates: It was nice to see corn greening up and getting some growth this past week! Also on people’s minds is the 45 day post-planting application deadline for RUP dicamba herbicides. The announcement that Risk Management Agency (RMA) adjusted the 2019 final haying and grazing date from Nov. 1 to Sept. 1 for prevented planting this year opened up additional options for our farmers affected by flooding and/or excess rain. An additional option was that “silage, haylage, and bailage should be treated in the same manner as haying and grazing this year. Producers can hay, graze or cut cover crops for silage, haylage or baleage on prevented plant acres on or after September 1 and still maintain eligibility for their full 2019 prevented planting indemnity.”
So how did this change things? Many I talked with, including my family, were originally planning on going with cool season covers like oats planted the first week of August. However, with the ability to harvest a cover crop for forage on Sept. 1, interest increased in utilizing warm season cover crops. For those planning on haying, our forage specialists recommend using millets. The regrowth after haying could then be used for grazing in the late fall/winter. They also said if you’re planning on a mix, don’t add brassicas into whatever you decide to hay as they don’t dry down and tend to create a moldy spot within hay. If you’re looking at grazing only, sudangrass, sorghum sudan, millets, and/or mix with other species are great options. Forage sorghum is a great option for silage.
The other consideration is that some of this ground going into prevent plant already had PRE herbicides applied, making legal options for cover crops that could be grazed or hayed difficult. So Friday was kind of a crazy day for me walking people through options. Honestly, sometimes corn or milo for silage ended up being the most feasible option based on labels. There are also acres of corn and bean fields that were drowned out due to recent flooding and are now considered a “failed crop” by FSA. Herbicides that were applied can make planting covers in those fields difficult too. Some farmers had contracts with seed companies providing free seed for replant. Thus, once again, corn for silage seemed like a feasible and economical option. So, I called Jeff Peterson at Seward Co. FSA to see if this could be an option. He said that it would be a feasible option in 2019 if it was also approved by the person’s crop insurance agent. The first step is to contact your crop insurance agent to discuss your options for prevent plant and/or failed crop. Then go to your FSA office and fill out their form for failed crop and/or prevent plant. Your crop insurance company may require a letter from Extension stating that corn can be used as a forage crop for silage. Again, it will be important to talk with your crop insurance agent and your FSA office about your options for the fields in your counties as I can’t guarantee these are options for every situation.
Tree Problems: The rain and humidity have allowed for numerous fungal diseases on our evergreen and deciduous trees. On deciduous trees, leaves with black/brown spots may be found. We don’t typically recommend fungicides for them and if the diseases get bad enough, the leaves may eventually fall off the trees early. A new flush of leaves typically follows 10-14 days later. On evergreen trees, we’re seeing a number of needle blights and shoot tip blights. We do recommend fungicide applications for them (typically in April or May). However, it is recommended to repeat them every 3-4 weeks when frequent rains occur. Product options for most evergreen diseases include chlorothalonil or a product containing Copper that is labeled for evergreen tree diseases. Bordeaux mixture is often recommended, but I have a hard time finding anyone that carries that.
Also, be checking trees for bagworms. They’re later this year and just forming new bags. In order to see them, what I do is walk up to the trees (especially cedars or spruces) and just watch the branches for any movement occurring on them. If you’ve had a bagworm problem in the past, what you’ll see is tiny, new brown bags moving as the larvae is building a new bag. I have more info and a video to help visualize what to look for: https://jenreesources.com/2015/06/27/bagworms-in-evergreens/. The best time to spray them is when the bags are less than ½ inch in size. More info and products can be found here: https://go.unl.edu/rgju.
Flooded Gardens: This was my top question last week. For those of you with flooded gardens due to ponding of rain water, it will be fine to use your produce and the following information won’t pertain to you. However, most of the calls I received were from those with creeks or rivers that flooded their gardens. In that case, it’s difficult to know what contaminants may be in the water. It’s recommended by our Extension horticulturalists to wait 90 days to use any produce that does not have contact with the soil and 120 days to use any produce that does have contact with the soil. For example, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, green beans could be harvested and eaten after 90 days. Fruit from trees and shrubs could be harvested and used after 90 days. However, rhubarb, potatoes, asparagus, squash and melon crops would need 120 days before harvesting to eat. Vegetables/fruits that are produced prior to the 90 and 120 day waiting period should be removed from plants and discarded. If the actual plants such as tomatoes, peppers, beans, etc. survive flooding, they do not need to be removed or replaced. You can allow them to continue to grow, just don’t use the fruit till 90 days post-flooding. Additional information can be found at: https://grobigred.com/2019/03/22/gardenflood/amp/?. Also, don’t harvest the morel mushrooms that are abundant this year due to the contaminants they’ve potentially been in contact with.
Crop Considerations: If you’d like more in-depth information regarding flooded/ponded corn/soybean, please check out this week’s CropWatch at http://cropwatch.unl.edu. We also shared a replant considerations article for corn in CropWatch. The tables in that article will be helpful as one assesses stands. Check corn, soybean, and milo for new regrowth 3-5 days after water recedes to determine potential survival. When it comes to assessing soybean stands for replant considerations, most UNL agronomists would say to leave stands of non-irrigated at 60,000 plants per acre and irrigated at 75,000 plants per acre. Honestly, my cutoff is 50,000 plants/acre for both irrigated and non-irrigated based more off of observation. A few on-farm research studies with lower actual stand counts include the following examples. 1-A non-irrigated field in Nuckolls County in 2006 was hailed at the cotyledon stage, so planted populations of 100K, 130K, and 160K became average actual stands of 74,417; 89,417; and 97,917 plants per acre with a 4 bu/ac yield difference between highest and lowest plant populations. 2-An irrigated field in Hamilton County in 2010 showed a 3 bu/ac yield difference between planted stand of 80K vs. 120K seeds/acre. 3-A York County irrigated field in 2018 comparing 90K, 120K, and 150K became final plant stands of 60,875; 88,125; and 121,750 plants/acre with yields of 93; 94; and 97 bu/ac respectively. So soybeans greatly compensate for reduced populations. Weed control may be another factor, depending on time of year, for soybean replant consideration. When in doubt, leaving some strips with the original stand and others with replant to test is also an option. I’ve also received questions regarding how much nitrogen to expect in the flooded/ponded soils. I don’t have a good answer other than soil samples will be helpful in determining this.
Wheat Diseases: I didn’t find any pustules looking at wheat in Nuckolls and Clay this past week. Stripe rust was confirmed in Perkins County and it was also found in Hamilton County by a crop consultant. While the model wasn’t showing as high of a risk, I’ve been concerned about our potential for wheat scab this year with all the rain. There are early planted wheat fields in which the flowering process has been completed. But there are a number of fields that are just fully headed now with beginning flowering to start soon. Upon flowering, your options for controlling any fungal diseases present on leaves as well as preventing scab are Prosaro, Caramba, and Miravis Ace. Research has found best timing to prevent scab is when 30% of the heads are at 15% flowering…basically early flowering. Flowering in wheat begins in the middle of the head.
South Central Ag Lab Weed Science Field Day: June 26th will be the South Central Ag Lab Weed Science Field Day near Clay Center. The field day will run from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. with registration beginning at 8 a.m. Tours include: New Technology/Herbicides for Weed Control in Soybean; Herbicides for Weed Control in Corn; and a presentation by Bob Klein on “What Works and Doesn’t Work in Managing Spray Drift”. There is no cost to attend and CCA credits are available. Please pre-register at: http://agronomy.unl.edu/fieldday.
Keeping Rural Worksites Strong: This is a workshop for those who work in human resources, leadership and wellness roles, agriculture, and safety to create a mental health friendly workplace. It will be held on Tuesday, June 25 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (Registration 8:30 a.m.) at the Seward Medical Center in Seward. Topics include: stress and employee health; substance use issues in the workplace; identifying risk for violence in the workplace; employer’s role in preventing suicide; caring for employees; and being a mental health friendly worksite. Cost is $20 and includes light breakfast, lunch, and materials. Please RSVP to Four Corners Health Dept. at: http://www.fourcorners.ne.gov or (877) 337-3573.
Crop Update: Every year provides ample opportunities to learn and this year will be no different. We’ll learn a lot in the next few weeks with corn/soybean germination and emergence and the cold tolerance of seed. Grateful for the planting that’s been accomplished thus far! Some rainfall hopefully is providing a much needed break for some and could also help with the dry seed bed and crusting concerns with some fields.
I’ve seen information going around regarding delayed planting and changing to early relative maturities for corn. The concern is regarding frost occurring before the crop reaches black layer. We’re honestly too early for that conversation until we hit early June, but that may be a reality in portions of the State. When looking at the number of GDDs to Black Layer, it’s important to ask your seed company if that number is based on ‘from planting’ or ‘from emergence’. Bob Nielsen, Extension Specialist at Purdue, found from research conducted in the early 2000’s that when hybrids were planted late, they matured in fewer growing degree days (GDDs) than predicted. In their research, Bob and his team found that hybrids matured around 6.8 fewer GDDs for every day planted after May 1. This continued through the second week of June and they didn’t evaluate planting dates beyond then. He gives the example, “a hybrid rated at 2700 GDDs from planting to physiological maturity (kernel black layer) and planted on May 31 reaches physiological maturity in less than 2500 GDDs after planting (e.g., 2700 – (30 days x 6.8)).” Roger Elmore, Nebraska Extension Cropping System Specialist, put this in perspective in an older CropWatch article, “A 115 CRM hybrid (2782 GDD) planted on May 15 would behave like a 111 CRM hybrid and when planted on May 30 it would behave like a 107 CRM (2578 GDD) hybrid. If planted on May 30 this hybrid should mature around September 14 in southeast and southern Nebraska and around September 27 in central and northeast Nebraska.” So hopefully this is helpful with the upcoming weather forecast potentially delaying getting back into the fields. Bob does have a calculator at the following site which provides an estimated GDD adjustment when you plug in the GDDs of your current hybrids and your expected planting date: https://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/corn/news/timeless/HybridMaturityDelayedPlant.html.
Renovating Flooded Pastures Workshop: After spring flooding, many river frontage pastures and crop fields were left with sand and silt deposits ranging from a few inches to up to three feet. Recovering that land for production will be the focus of a May 13 on-site workshop near Ravenna at 1:30 p.m. Jerry Volesky, Extension range and forage specialist, will discuss treatments and practices to aid land recovery. Participants are invited to park at McAuliff Farms at 41465 325th Road south of Ravenna. A tractor and trailer will transport attendees to the workshop location, where there are heavy deposits of sand and silt from flooding of the nearby South Loup River. For more information, contact Volesky at 308-696-6710 or firstname.lastname@example.org or the program sponsor, Town and County Bank at 308-452-3225.
Tree and Lawn Care Programs for York and Seward Counties: Two upcoming tree/lawn care will be held in York and Seward Counties. Sarah Browning, Nebraska Extension Educator, will be presenting the programs. There is no charge but please RSVP to (402) 441-7180 to attend either or both programs.
- “Made in the Shade: Trees for Nebraska’s Landscapes” will be held on May 30th from 6-7:30 p.m. at the 4-H Building at the Fairgrounds in York. Trees are the backbone of our landscapes, providing beauty, shade, noise reduction, wildlife habitat, and reduce home heating and cooling costs. In this program, learn how to keep your trees healthy and vigorous. We’ll also discuss tree species well-adapted to Nebraska’s challenging growing environment.
- “Troubleshooting the Landscape” will be held on June 5th from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Civic Center in Seward. Learn how to better manage these common problems in your landscape: Emerald Ash Borer, Weed control in lawns and landscapes, Summer and fall lawn care, and Pruning trees and shrubs.
Our climate and weather experts speak of the past 60 days as “Nebraska’s most challenging days of weather”. In their article recapping events that have occurred since January 15th, Tyler Williams and Al Dutcher share, “The recent string of weather events is definitely one for Nebraska’s history books. The key word to that sentence is “string” because it took a combination of patterns and extremes to get us to this point. Beginning in mid-January, the weather pattern shifted from warm and relatively wet to a very cold and highly active pattern that brought snow, rain, and ice. This pattern lasted well into March. This almost 60-day period from mid-January to the March 13-14 storms and resulting flood will leave a lasting mark on Nebraska. Following is a description of how this scenario developed…” I would encourage us to read the full article at: https://go.unl.edu/0gbr.
In spite of more crazy weather last week, March did go out like a lamb! It’s hard to believe this week is April. Grateful for signs of greening up and new life after a long, hard winter such as greening wheat, rye, lawns, and new life with buds swelling on trees and various bulbs poking through the ground! For whatever reason, the first signs of green after winter seem so bright and stark to me, perhaps even more so this year!
And, I also realize with April upon us is the added stress that there’s so much to do yet for this growing season. Perhaps a bright spot is that the moisture has allowed for stalk deterioration which helps with the residue management side. Nutrient management is also on growers’ minds. Charlie Wortmann and Bijesh Mahajan, Extension Soil Fertility Specialists, addressed considerations for nutrient management going into 2019 in a CropWatch article as well this week: https://go.unl.edu/7u7u. I’ll share a few thoughts from it here and would encourage you to check out the full article in the link above. For those with wheat, the following addresses top-dressing winter wheat: https://go.unl.edu/pk6f.
Of concern is broadcast applications of phosphorus that occurred on frozen ground in January and February. It’s not a practice we recommend and unfortunately, this year may have resulted in quite a bit of loss as runoff from fields. The only way to really know where you’re at for phosphorus is to do soil samples and they’re recommending 0-8” depth.
For any nitrogen applied last fall, it’s not anticipated to have been lost yet due to the low soil temperatures. However, because of the full soil profile and gravitational water, there’s concern of nitrogen leaching as soil temperatures warm. In May there will be much potential for leaching of nitrate-N when the soil becomes warm enough to allow ammonium-N conversion to nitrate-N. The soil specialists share “residual soil nitrate-N from 2018 is already subject to leaching and that, on average, approximately 60 lb N/ac of residual soil nitrate-N is available annually in the upper 4-feet of soil.” They also share the potential for denitrification in June if we continue to see water-logged soils. So, I realize this isn’t good news on top of the stress you’re already under. The opportunity I see in all of this is the potential to move more nitrogen in-season. They’re recommending to move at least 50% of nitrogen application in-season. I realize this is a mind-shift and challenging equipment and perhaps cost-wise for some. I also think, perhaps hope, that it allows a future culture shift to more in-season nitrogen applications for future years.
A study from Purdue University found that between flowering and maturity, today’s hybrids can take up from 30% to 40% of their total N, over 50% of their total P and over 40% of their total sulfur. On the nitrogen side alone, hybrids today remove 27% more nitrogen from the soil after flowering than hybrids developed from 1950-1990. Thus, anything we can do to spread out nitrogen applications and aim for more in-season applications, can aid in nutrient uptake, yields, and reduce nutrient loss. Next week I’ll share more of our on-farm research and other research results regarding moving nitrogen in-season.
Also wanted to share that we have several updated articles on our http://flood.unl.edu regarding spreading flooded adulterated grain on ag land, considerations for gardens in areas that were flooded, reclaiming pastures and fields with silt/sand deposits, lease considerations on flooded ground, and fencing considerations. Prior to the flooding/blizzard, livestock producers were struggling with the weather and losing livestock. A team of us put together information for FSA regarding the severe winter as a disaster consideration. While that information was submitted several weeks ago, you can find our article at: https://go.unl.edu/6agf.
#NebraskaStrong also means being strong enough to ask for help. Nebraska Family Helpline: 888-866-8660. Nebraska Farm Hotline: 800-464-0258.
This past week was tough at times yet also incredible to see people pull together, rally around each other, and donate so much. All of this is so hard to put into words…praying for those impacted and grateful for the many heart-warming stories amidst all the loss! I realize not everyone reading this is directly affected by the flooding. However, we all most likely know others affected and there’s several resources and information Nebraska Extension wishes to share. Please help us in sharing this information!
Flood Website: http://flood.unl.edu Information for Rural/Urban, Families, Business, Crop and Livestock Producers, Home Damage, and English/Spanish resources all in this one spot. Grateful for all my colleagues working really hard to redo/update this site! Also, all flood-related questions can be directed to: email@example.com
Volunteers: https://flood.unl.edu/how-can-i-help Individuals and organizations should never self-deploy. Support relief organizations that are already established in the area by contacting local organizations to see what support they need. You can also check with your county Emergency Manager. It’s also recommended to get a tetanus shot if you’re cleaning up in flood affected areas.
- Get a tetanus shot before removing flood damaged items.
- Test private wells that may have come in contact with flood water before drinking or cooking. Kits can often be obtained from your local Health Department or Extension office. More info: https://flood.unl.edu/well-water
- First Steps for flood recovery: https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/ACS/ACS-101-W.pdf
- Cleaning up after a flood (includes videos and also questions to ask to ensure contractors are trustworthy). Remove drywall and carpeting as quickly as possible (24-48 hours) to prevent mold growth. Don’t rebuild until studs are 13% moisture: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/cleanup/facts.html
- Free legal assistance for low-income flood survivors: https://flood.unl.edu/legal-aid
- Financial recovery and documentation: https://flood.unl.edu/family-financial
- Handling food following a flood: https://flood.unl.edu/foodsafety
Livestock: https://flood.unl.edu/livestock Our livestock producers care so greatly for their animals and work so hard to keep them safe and healthy. Prayers for all affected.
- Options for Disposal of Animal Carcasses including rendering and landfill locations, burial and composting considerations. EQIP assistance for disposal costs may be available; apply for waiver through local NRCS office before disposal: https://beef.unl.edu/beefwatch/options-disposal-animal-carcasses
- Contact local Farm Service Agency regarding losses. Phone call starts the process and only have 30 days to report for Livestock Indemnity Program. Can report losses from severe winter prior to flooding in addition to flood and blizzard events: https://beef.unl.edu/beefwatch/extreme-weather-events-and-livestock-indemnity-program
- Article I’ve promised for a few weeks regarding the extreme winter before the flood/blizzard event: https://beef.unl.edu/beefwatch/considerations-attributing-livestock-losses
- Flood damaged grain and hay is considered adulterated and cannot be used as a food or feed source; it must be properly disposed: http://deq.ne.gov/publica.nsf/pages/11-023
- Post bomb-cyclone recovery
- Wet hay has the potential to combust so remove hay from building structures if impacted by flooding. Best practice for flooded hay and silage is to dispose of by spreading on fields as a fertilizer. Most practical way may be just unrolling bales for now. Hay bales that are at 30 to 40 percent moisture content pose the greatest risk of fire. Check hay storage often for pungent odors, hot damp areas on the stack, emission of water vapors and other signs of heating. To check a stack’s temperature for fire risk, drive a sharp pointed pipe into the hay, lower a thermometer inside the pipe and leave it there for about 20 minutes. At 150 degrees F, the hay is approaching the danger zone. At 170 degrees F, hot spots or fire pockets are possible. Have the fire department on standby.
Flooded Grain Bins: Flooded grain is considered adulterated and needs to be disposed. Grain above that can be salvaged by removing it from the top or side of bin with a tool like a grain vacuum. This article shares info. on considerations and grain vac service/suppliers: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/2019/grain-vacuum-services-rentals-suppliers
Flooded Pesticides: https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/flood/farm-ranch/flooded-pesticides
I don’t have room to mention all the resources! Please check out: https://flood.unl.edu/
Please keep talking to each other, share your stories, and don’t isolate! Eat a good meal, drink plenty of water, get some rest and be mindful of your personal well-being. Recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. We’re all being impacted by this. #NebraskaStrong is so true. It also takes strength to ask for help when we need it; help is always available!
- Nebraska Farm Hotline/Rural Response Hotline: 800-464-0258.
- The Nebraska Counseling, Outreach and Mental Health Therapy (COMHT) Program: 800-464-0258.
- Nebraska Family Helpline: 888-866-8660