WEEPING WATER – Duane Murdoch has been farming for 40 years and he’s never seen weather like this during such an important time in the farming calendar.
“This is the wettest I’ve ever seen it at harvest,” he said. “This is a fine time for the soybean harvest. We would be cutting soybeans by now, but now no way. It’s impossible.”
Several days of continuous rainfall has put him and other farmers behind normal schedules on harvesting their hard work, according to Murdoch.
Usually, 70 percent of the area’s corn crop would be harvested by this time. At the moment, that amount has dropped to 40 percent, he said.
The harvesting of soybeans is a week behind and no doubt longer by the time the ground properly dries, he added.
“We’re all in the same boat,” Murdoch said.
Tyler Williams, an extension educator at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, added, “Farmers are behind, especially in southeast Nebraska. There hasn’t been a lot of movement. We always need moisture (during the growing season), but when it comes to the harvest you don’t like moisture. The timing couldn’t be more challenging. I think the biggest concern is the quality of the grain. Just sitting there poses risks of problems.”
Grain must be dry when shipped to elevators, according to Williams, or the farmers would have to dry the grain themselves costing money.
Unfortunately, another chance of rain is expected to arrive by this evening (Thursday) and remain through much of Friday until early evening, according to the National Weather Service in Valley, Neb.
A few snowflakes may be seen on Friday morning, though no accumulation is expected, said Suzanne Fortin, meteorologist.
Fortunately, farmers may finally get a smile from Mother Nature on Saturday through the middle of next week with clear skies expected, she said.
It will be rather cool, though, she added.
As far as rainfall, 2.54 inches fell in this area between 7 a.m. Sunday morning through 7 a.m. Wednesday, according to measurements at the Plattsmouth airport. More specifically, 0.56 of an inch fell on Sunday through Monday morning, 1.05 of an inch between then into Tuesday morning, followed by 0.93 of an inch by Wednesday morning.
“It didn’t break any daily rainfall records, but was quite more than normal,” Fortin said.
Williams said it will take “a few days” before it’s dry enough to go into the fields.
Once farmers get going again, the current delay may force many to work into the middle of the night, according to Murdoch.
“You’ll see (equipment) lights late at night,” he said.
Murdoch, a Cass County commissioner, urged motorists to be aware that farmers might be on the roads past sunset.
Murdoch said he’s the optimistic type.
“It will get better sometime,” he said.
Williams added, “Sunshine and no rain will go a long way.”