Many areas of the state have experienced some flood damage during the past weeks and corn, soybean and forage crops have been inundated.
A key to managing this situation is to first make an assessment of the crop damage, contact crop insurance agents and make plans for potentially salvaging some of the crop.
Food crops that come in contact with flood waters are deemed unfit for human consumption. Feed crops may be salvageable and with the feed situation and high price of commodities there will be more motivation to attempt this now.
For feed crops to be marketed they may require some approval based on testing and assessment prior to delivery to the grain elevator. The PDA will likely be providing us some guidelines on this procedure process soon.
Corn crops vary in their damage. Some has been flattened and is unsalvageable. Others are partially down, with sections of the fields that could be salvageable.
Most corn has some degree of silt on the leaves and husk. The condition of the grain is likely variable, but some may still be in relatively good condition.
With some rain in the next few weeks, some of the silt may wash off the plants which will make grain harvesting a possibility. In our 2004 flood in the Susquehanna region, a fair amount of corn grain was salvaged.
Some corn may experience lodging due to stalk rots that may be aggravated by the flooding event.
Harvesting flood damaged corn for silage is a less desirable option due to impacts on feed quality and fermentation.
Soybeans I have seen so far are lodged and silt covered and could be more difficult to salvage.
Forage crops that have been inundated will likely have more silt on them. The silt can result in lower energy, more problems with fermentation and possibly result in some animal health problems.
For more details on flooded crop management, review the factsheet we developed last week: http://cornandsoybeans.psu.edu/flooddamagemanagement.cfm.