Midwest farmers assessing benefits and burdens of weekend storms


Midwest farmers assessing benefits and burdens of weekend storms

Extreme weather and heavy rainfall events over the weekend helped some midwestern crops and hindered others. Brownfield reporters are talking to farmers across the region about crop conditions as more rain sits in the forecast for this week.


Around 10 inches of rain hit fields in McLean County, Illinois-the top corn and soybean producing county in the US.

Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford tells Brownfield it exceeded the 100-year rainfall totals for a three-day period, meaning there is only a 1% chance for this type of event in any given year.

“Some areas in southern McLean County got closer to that 500-year rainfall event, so it was very extreme.”

McLean County Farmer Reid Thompson tells Brownfield it will be a couple of days before they can determine the yield damage to corn and soybeans.

“It very well could have taken the top-end yield off most of our farms. I will say the southern and western sides of the county have been drier, so while we did have excess flooding, we also needed about half of what we got- we just needed it over a 4-5 day time frame instead of one hour.”

The majority of Illinois received at least 2 inches which was welcome to drier soils, but many areas fell in the 5-inch category which bring concerns for diseases pressure with the high temperatures and humidity.


High winds and hail damaged crops in eastern Nebraska.

Rick Gruber who farms in York County tells Brownfield the area received two storms Thursday night.

“One was at 8:30 and then a few miles west of us another one came through at about 10:30 p.m.  Definity hailed some streaks through the county, and we probably noticed it the most on the soybeans.”

Gruber said the crop is not a total loss and is deciding if he should replant.

“I wouldn’t do anything with what’s out there.  I’d just try to go in and try to put some more in, but I’ve been advised that it doesn’t necessarily solve your problem. It is the last few days of June so, I imagine they’re probably right, you’re probably not going to look at too great of yield on what you put in the ground today.”

Gruber says he didn’t notice much green snap in his corn and estimated a 1-2 percent population loss.  


In Michigan , rains helped alleviate widespread drought, but skipped over some areas.

More than 90 percent of the state was still in some form of drought as of last Thursday, but Michigan Farm Bureau’s Theresa Sisung tells Brownfield there’s been a significant shift following weekend storms.

 “We have an area across the midsection of the state, from the southwest corner up into the Saginaw Bay, that saw anywhere up to eight inches of rain,” she says.

Unfortunately, she says there are still areas that are too dry while others are now too wet.

 “We’ve had a whole lot of things, but overall, our crop actually does look pretty good,” she says.


Wisconsin farmers received some much-needed rain over the past four days, but some farmers got more than they immediately needed.

Crawford County in Southwestern Wisconsin’s driftless area was one area categorized by the National Weather Service as having severe drought just over a week ago and received a lot of rain Friday night.  Jody Riley farms on a ridge southeast of Gays Mills.

“We got about 4.5 inches on Friday night. And a friend of mine from Mt. Sterling was here this morning and said they got upwards towards a foot over that way.”

Riley says the first inch and six-tenths of rain he received about a week and a half ago saved his crops, and now they look fantastic. 


Heavy rains in much of Missouri have prompted flash flood watches and warnings – with some farmers still dealing with flooding today and keeping a close eye on rising waters.

Flood warnings are in effect for a swath of northwest Missouri into central Missouri – along the Missouri River and its tributaries and along the Mississippi River through St. Louis southward. Watches are in effect for much of southwest through central and northeastern Missouri.

South Dakota

Scattered rain over the weekend fell over South Dakota – and more patchy rain is expected through today and tonight, but drought conditions are still firmly entrenched. So far, the rain has been hit or miss in most areas.

This story will be updated as Brownfield interviews more farmers across the region.