Wet Weather Delays Planting, May Be More Common in Future

June 20, 2019, 2:51 p.m. ·

With rain and saturated ground from flooding, this planting season hasn’t been easy for Midwestern farmers. (Archive photo by Fred Knapp, NET News)

Listen To This Story

For many parts of Nebraska and the Midwest, rain in May and June has left farmers struggling to get their crops planted.

National Weather Service data show May’s rainfall is well above average everywhere in the eastern part of Nebraska. In Falls City, Nebraska, the May rainfall doubled the average. With all the rain, added on top of saturated grounds from spring flooding, this planting season hasn’t been easy for Midwestern farmers.

“There is a lot of stress on farmers and farm families right now," said Dan Nerud, president of Nebraska Corn Growers Association. "Mental and emotional, financial; it runs the whole gamut of stress.”

Nerud finished planting his corn crop in May. Nerud said it’s really pushing to the end of when farmers can plant without the potential risks outweighing all the investment. He said planting a cover crop, to protect the field, may be the best option for some. Nerud is now hoping for timely rains moving forward.

Al Dutcher, Nebraska’s associate state climatologist, said events like these may become common because of climate change.

“For planting purposes, I think that’s one of the issues that all of us need to consider, is that whether or not the models are right or wrong, the evidence is showing that we are seeing these bigger events," Dutcher said. "And that we’re going to need to prepare for them in the future."

Dutcher said it won’t be sudden, but it’ll take place slowly over time and current weather patterns will intensify. Nerud, who farms near Dorchester, Nebraska with his son, said a continued wet season may lead to trouble with the harvest in the fall.

“I do believe that farmers are a resilient people and we’re doing the best we can under the situations," Nerud said. "We always strive to keep doing better and are always trying to help out neighbors that have it worse off than we are.”

Editor's Note: A correction was made to this story regarding the date Mr. Nerud finished planting his corn crop.