Flood Puts a Damper on Farmland

(ALTON, IA) - As more rain moves in Thursday evening, farmers are shaking their heads wishing they hadn't prayed for a wet spring. When you compare last year's drought to this year, it's just about opposite.

Sioux County has gotten soaked with 10 inches of rain since Sunday.

Denny Gergen has owned Gergen Farms in Alton, IA for 22 years. In all of that time, he's never seen the large amount of moisture since that sits on his field all at once and he certainly doesn't need it. At first glance, you'd think the water is part of a creek, but you have to look again. It's a cornfield soaked to the core from just a few days of heavy rain. "The corn that's been underwater or the water that washed over it, it isn't going to be the quality corn that we normally have because it's been too wet," said Gergen. Denny farms 330 acres between two fields. He says he'll have to replant at least 30 acres of his crops. "We wanted rain. We didn't get it. We needed rain this year and we got it and then we got way too much," said Gergen.
When Olivia suggested we walk out on the field, he hesitated and said we might get stuck. "Alright let's give it a try. Oh! It's like quick sand!" said Olivia. "Yeah. It doesn't take much to sink in this," said Gergen. "It's going to take two to three weeks of hot, dry weather, windy weather to dry this out and I may not even get this replanted." "Virtually no water sits here at all. You might have a little stream if we get an inch and a half, two inch rain," said Gergen pointing to a large pool of trickling water. But it's more than a stream now. "This is just one of the years you hope you can pay all your bills and go again next year and hope Mother Nature cooperates next year. This year she's just the opposite of what she was last year," said Gergen. He says it'll be at least two or three weeks from now that he'll be able to go out to the fields and evaluate his crops to see what he can salvage.

Gergen says if this heavy rain fell a month ago, the crops would probably have a better chance to dry out. Meanwhile, south of Alton on Highway 75 Olivia found much more soaked farmland. Just north of Merrill, you can notice the giant puddles that look like a creek running through the freshly planted soybeans. You can spot one field after another along Highway 75 that look just about the same.