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Missouri's crop-growing season may be second wettest on record

Pat Guinan, University of Missouri Extension Climatologist
University of Missouri, Missouri Climate Center
Pat Guinan, State Climatologist for Missouri.

This could be a record-breaking year for Missouri’s farmers. Unfortunately, that’s due to all the rain.

The final numbers won't be known for a few weeks, but University of Missouri Extension says the May-to-July crop-planting period is already the second-wettest since the state started keeping track in 1895.

Rainfall amounts in those three months total more than 22 inches.

That's about 170-percent of normal, or 10 inches above normal for the three month period,” says UM Extension Climatologist Pat Guinan.

“Overall it appears that Missouri was a bulls-eye when it comes to the longevity of this wetness.”

The abnormally rainy conditions have been triggered in part by stationary weather systems triggering showers and thunderstorms. Tropical storm remnants have also dumped additional moisture in the state.

The obvious impact of the wet weather can be found in the fields. UM Extension says the state leads the nation in unplanted soybean crop.

“I believe only about 80 percent of the soybean crop was planted this year,” says Guinan, adding that conditions in parts of Illinois and Iowa have not been as devastating.

“We’ve been sharing this wetness a little bit longer.”

The flooding of fields also leads to nutrient loss, which can impact crop yields.

Stalled weather systems have brought more rain than usual this summer throughout Missouri.

The conditions are also prompt what Guinan describes “die-off” of some plants because the ground has been saturated for so long.

County governments and road districts throughout Missouri are also being hit. Many are dealing with washed-out culverts and lost bridges. Construction projects throughout the state have also been affected.

“The entire state has seen this wetness for over three months now and that’s very unusual,” says Guinan.

Meantime, the United State Department of Agriculture on Wednesday granted a request for a disaster declaration in 87 Illinois counties and 14 contiguous counties that suffered losses due to rain and flooding this year. That makes federal assistance available to farmers, on a case-by-case basis.

Wayne Pratt is the Broadcast Operations Manager and former morning newscaster at St. Louis Public Radio.