Special to the Farm Forum
ABERDEEN — Brown County will ask for a disaster declaration because of corn crop loss caused by spring flooding.
Commissioners Oct. 4 passed a resolution asking Gov. Dennis Daugaard to declare Brown County a disaster area.
Farmers experienced a 37.6 percent loss in the corn crop because of widespread spring flooding, Scott Meints, county emergency management director, said at the meeting.
There must be at least a 30 percent loss in one major crop to qualify. Crop loss is based on the large number of acres that could not be planted plus a small amount of crop damage due to a hail and a windstorm on July 4, said Dawn Brandt, Farm Service Agency director in the Aberdeen office.
The number of acres planted in Brown County versus the number of acres too wet for planting are:
- Corn — 272,848 planted, 164,400 not planted
- Soybeans — 216,250 planted, 34,700 not planted
- Spring wheat — 19,200 planted, 1,939 not planted
- Winter wheat — 1,880 planted, fewer than five not planted.
Daugaard now can ask for a federal declaration from the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture that would allow farmers to apply for direct assistance and low-interest loans.
Brown County has met the crop loss threshold for disaster declaration every year since 2008.
If the secretary of agriculture declares a disaster in Brown County, all counties that share a border with Brown would qualify for disaster relief. These include McPherson, Edmunds, Faulk, Spink, Day and Marshall, S.D.; and Dickey County, N.D.
While many acres were left unplanted, farmers who could get into the field are expecting an above-average corn crop.
"The corn that is out there is pretty good," said David Clark, northern sales manager for Wheat Growers. "I wouldn't go as far to say that it is a bumper crop, but it is above average."
Yields likely will range from 130 to 190 bushels per acre, with most farmers getting about 150 bushels and acre, he said.
Little corn has been harvested because farmers have been harvesting soybeans. The beans arriving at area elevators have been better quality than expected, Mike Nichols, grain manager at North Central Farmers Elevator, said last week.
The Sept. 15 freeze did not affect soybeans as much as first thought, he said.
Brandt said farmers who suffered crop loss will not be able to apply for the disaster assistance program for 14 months. Direct payments will be based on several factors, including the levels of crop insurance carried by the producer, production and expected revenue versus actual revenue.
"With fields under water, there were a lot of bushels that did not get to market," Brandt said. "That affects producers and Main Street."