Snow and rain affects Midwest agriculture into spring

Farms in the U.S. Midwest that are already struggling with the effects of monumental flooding have been hit with an early-spring storm this week that certainly isn’t helping matters.

“It’s a terrible, terrible track in terms of its impact on the areas that have already seen terrible flooding back in March,” meteorologist Michael Palmerino told Progressive Farmer, speaking about the storm. “It couldn’t be any worse of a track to those having flooding in the area.”

Much of the Midwest was expected to gain two to three inches of rain, with potentially heavy snow in some areas. Blizzard warnings were issued for much of South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Colorado, Wyoming and Kansas, as were high wind warnings.

Not as much snow is expected as the catastrophic storms of last month, however. These wet weather conditions can cause strain to livestock (especially new calves), continue to delay fieldwork and damage grains currently being kept in storage.

The damage that’s already done

The heavy floods that rocked much of Nebraska and Iowa last week are expected to cause problems until July, experts say. Nearly 150,000 growers in four states (Missouri and Kansas were also impacted) have been affected.

Farm Market ID estimates $7.5 billion of grain existed in the flooded areas, so the economic damages on growers will be significant.

The intense moisture increases the chance that stored grains will be contaminated with mycotoxins, the harmful natural toxins produced by certain kinds of mold. Testing for mycotoxins will be crucial in the coming season, as will storing grain in a way that keeps it as cool and dry as possible, to stifle the growth of mold.

For more info on reducing mycotoxin risks, check out our previous blog post on the topic, “How to store grain and reduce mycotoxin risks.

Neogen offers rapid tests to detect mycotoxins, including aflatoxin, DON, fumonisin, ochratoxin, T-2/HT-2 and zearalenone.

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