Missouri's average rainfall in May was the greatest since 1895, when records were 1st kept. MU Extension climatologist Pat Guinan said it was 200% of normal. Not only the amount of rain was difficult, but the longevity of it plagued normal activities such as putting up hay and planting row crops, the latter being at delayed rates not seen in years. Planting progress in June should restore the planted acres, but the yields are likely to be reduced. This coupled with low commodity prices and catastrophic flooding has many concerned about the health of the overall Midwest farm economy.
Most areas around produce auctions had to deal with the rain, but didn't suffer from devastating flooding. That wasn't the case for a number of vegetable producers nearby rivers. The Jefferson City area had 4 or 5 producers who lost substantial fields of sweet corn, cantaloupes and watermelons. One long time producer just outside of Jeff City lost all their production, including two high tunnels and the area's only U-pick pumpkin field. It is very sad to see something like this and one upland grower noted that there could also be a marketing consequence to their farmers market. Given the supply of some key produce items will be little to none, will the customers show up with the typical enthusiasm? We know the quantity and diversity of vegetables at farmers markets across the state will be delayed. For those with something to sell, high tunnels are likely proving their value once again.
MU Extension has created a one-stop shop of online resources for crop farmers coping with flooding and persistent rains. The website is at: https://extension2.missouri.edu/programs/flood-resources/crops-and-soils-flood-resources. Print materials are available upon request; check with your area specialist is interested.
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REVISED: June 20, 2019