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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Sep. 23, 2017

KATE O’CONNELL/independent feature writer

Unusually high rainfall this summer is wreaking havoc on the county’s crops.

Flooding this spring has caused a myriad of problems for local farmers. (photo provided)

Rainfall the last six days varied throughout the county with reports of 6½ inches in the southeastern portion to 2½ inches in the northern half.

“The county has been inundated with rain,” said Van Wert County Emergency Management Director Rick McCoy on Thursday.

It’s been sticky getting into the fields since planting season began. About 15 inches of rain fell in the southern portion of the county in May. Over half of that total fell in one day in the Glenmore/Wren area, he said.

Ken Kottenbrock, district conservationist at Van Wert Soil and Water Conservation District, said local farmers have taken a lot of hits this year.

“Some farmers have replanted up to three times,” Kottenbrock said, adding that the rainfall has been so spotty throughout the county the condition of the crops is “all over the board.”

“Down in the southeastern part of the county they have been behind from the get-go,” he said, referring to the deluge of rain in May.

While there has definitely been damage done, some growers won’t know the total impact until harvest comes, Kottenbrock said.

“Once we start thinking we might make it through, we get another beat down,” he said. “It will be a broad range of yields this year I suspect.”

The rain and wind has resulted in root lodging and green snap in the area’s corn, according to Sarah Noggle of the Ohio State Extension Office in Paulding County.

Root lodging occurs when the corn’s brace roots are pulled slightly from the soil due to high winds. The result is a weaker stalk. Green snap is also caused by strong winds and refers to the breakage of a corn stalk that hasn’t tassled. Stalk brittleness is greatest in rapidly growing corn under high temperature, high soil moisture conditions.

Noggle said conditions have also led to concerns of European corn borer on non Bt corn.

Beans are also getting impacted by the weather.

“Wet and hot conditions can lead to Phytophthora root rot,” Noggle said.

Phytophthora occurs when water molds travel through the water and infect the roots of the plants that don’t have resistance to the pathogen.  The plants may not initially show symptoms but they will be rotting from the inside out, Noggle said.

“It just usually doesn’t rain this much in July,” she said.

Farmers in Van Wert and Paulding counties are about 70 percent done with wheat harvest, Noggle said. Last year at this time wheat harvest had been completed.

“As far as growth, corn is about two and a half to three weeks behind from last year and beans are three to three and a half weeks behind, compared to last year,” Noggle said.

POSTED: 07/15/17 at 7:25 am. FILED UNDER: News