Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey is encouraging livestock producers to continue planning ahead as they seek to care for their livestock during the heavy rains and flooding that is affecting nearly the entire state this week.
"We continue to hear stories of farmers going to amazing lengths to ensure their animals are cared for. As flood waters make their way downstream the flooding is going to impact even more producers," notes Northey. "Flood water, washed out bridges and damaged roads may make it difficult to reach some areas with livestock, so I encourage folks to monitor reports so they aren't caught off guard."
Secondary and gravel roads have been greatly affected by flooding and the forecast for continued wet conditions this week makes preparing ahead even more important. Farmers may want to make sure livestock have plenty of feed and water available before the high water reaches their area, he says, and provide reserve supplies if needed.
FSA offices are recording losses
All farmers are encouraged to report agricultural losses to their local USDA Farm Service Agency or FSA field office. USDA personnel are compiling "Flash Reports" of all agricultural losses across the state.
The steady succession of severe storms has been characterized by heavy rain, high winds and tornadoes along with flooding. Much needed crop spraying has been halted to a large extent, as has hay harvesting progress.
"Besides all the difficulties faced by livestock producers, much of the first hay cutting has been lost in Iowa because of too much rain. Farmers need to let FSA know about these losses and any other production losses," says Northey. Hay supplies have become short as weather conditions prevented harvesting of new hay. Severe weather and ponded water in pastures have greatly affected pasture utilization by cattle.
Heavy rains miss 2008 Hay Expo site
Worries over wet weather and flooding remain for northeast Iowa as well as other areas. Northeast Iowa is the site of the 2008 Farm Progress Hay Expo which will be held June 25 and 26 near the town of Ossian. However, Ossian was lucky and was missed by the latest deluge that hit much of the rest of the state.
Farmers planning to attend the 2008 Hay Expo will be glad to know the heavy rains missed the Expo site which is on the Knutson and Winkler farms this year. Mark Lovig, operations manager, says his review of the fields over the weekend of June 7 and 8 found no standing water. "The alfalfa looks good," he says. "All it needs is some more sunlight and it's going to take off growing."
A difficult winter didn't hamper alfalfa conditions on the Hay Expo farms either. Lovig notes that the show site fields saw no winterkill of the alfalfa stands, and the first cutting of hay was taken in a timely fashion in late May. "You should make plans now to attend the show," he says. For driving directions to the 2008 Hay Expo in northeast Iowa, and other information, go to www.HayExpo.com.