Flooded grain bin in Hamburg

Flooded grain bin in Hamburg

(Percival) -- More than 100,000 acres of farmland in three southwest Iowa counties were flooded this spring.

One southwest Iowa farmer says his family has been able to plant just three percent their cropland due to this spring’s flooding. “About 75 or 76 acres is about all I’m going to get in this year,” Pat Sheldon told Radio Iowa this week.

Sheldon said in a normal year, his family’s farming operation near Percival would plant 2500 acres of corn or soybeans. They planted beans this year. This is the second time in less than a decade that Sheldon’s farm has been hit by flooding.

“We had to build a new home after 2011 and we built this one up, so it’s dry and in a good shape,” Sheldon said. “Some of our buildings have had water in them, lost some grain bins and some of that stuff.”

Sheldon said hauling out the rotten grain is a concern.

“Most of ours isn’t as bad as what I’ve seen some of the neighbors have, but you know the structural integrity of some of those bins in getting the grain out in a safe manner is a real issue — I mean a very dangerous issue,” Sheldon saod. “Farming’s dangerous enough in normal conditions, let alone the things we’re dealing with now and it’s going to be a while because we’ve got to fix roads before we can even get a lot of it out.”

Nearly two million bushels of corn and another half a million bushels of soybeans were sitting in grain bins and spoiled by this spring’s flooding. The U.S.D.A. has not yet come up with the documentation required for getting federal payments to cover some of those losses.

State officials advise farmers who are removing grain to take photos and have a third-party confirm how much grain was damaged. A state legislator from Glenwood says farmers in his area are struggling to figure out how to safely remove ground-level sections of their grain bins — so a skid loader can be used to get the spoiled grain out.