Archive for Thursday, June 7, 2001

Heavy rains damage crops: more on the way

June 7, 2001

Whether driving west on 1500 Road toward Lawrence or looking across southern fields near the county line, the scene is pretty much the same soggy.

Heavy rains and severe weather in the last week caused inconveniences for some people and wreaked havoc for others.

According to the National Weather Service's measurements at the Topeka bureau, the average June precipitation for the area is 5.54 inches. Before Tuesday, the area had 1.8 inches for the month; that's one-third of the month's average rainfall in the first four days.

Flooding and hail damage from Friday's thunderstorm caused problems for Mark Neis' crops.

"I was told it was messed up," Neis said. "I haven't even been down there because I've been depressed."

Crop Quest, a crop consulting firm based in Dodge City, told him that 65 to 75 percent of his plants broke off at ground level. Neis said he could declare 100 percent destruction and collect about $130 an acre from insurance, even though he said he invests about $190 per acre to begin with. While it's late in the season, Neis could replant soy beans or milo, but the chemicals he used on the corn will kill soy beans.

"I'm kind of up in the air with what I'm going to do," he said. "I'm just glad I have another job."

Neis also works at a chemical plant in Lawrence.

"I work 40 hours up there and I run around the clock here," he said. Neis said he planned to drain water from one of his cornfields Tuesday.

Jim Carpenter at Eudora Feed and Grain, 530 Main St., said that although low-lying land near the river usually floods, this year farmers are having water trouble despite their land's location.

Eudora Riverview Golf, 2102 N. 1500 Road, sits on low land near the Wakarusa River slough, but Johnny Surrette, mechanic at the golf course, said flooding doesn't cause too much trouble for the golf course.

"We can get one, one-and-a-half inches, and as long as the sun comes out we're OK because of the sandy soil," Surrette said. "Things are playable here."

Although the amount of water may seem extraordinary, National Weather Service meteorologist-in-charge Curt Holderbach at the Topeka forecast office said this weather is nothing new.

The rainfall has been frequent in the last several weeks, he said, but the precipitation averages out during the year.

The temperatures are about 15 degrees below average, but that may change soon.

Holderbach said Thursday looks to be drier and warm.

"June is actually the wettest month," Holderbach said. "In terms of severe thunderstorms, it's not unusual weather."

Erinn Barcomb can be reached at ebarcomb@eudoranews

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