Todd Heigle, of Issaquena County, Miss., is pleased to be planting after two years of battling flooding within the Yazoo Backwater Space.
“If it was not for God, we could not have gotten through these last couple of years,” Heigle stated. “After the awful flooding in 2019, the year 2020 started much the same way. Luckily, we were able to get most of the land planted late, unlike in 2019 when we could not plant hardly anything.”
Heigle and his spouse Kelley stay about two miles from the Mississippi River the place they farm corn and soybean on the household land.
“It was a good year last year,” he stated. “My youngest daughter got married, and we got to farm. It was not a bumper crop, but at least, we got to farm and make ends meet.”
Planting in 2020
The 2020 planting season began equally to 2019, and lots of farmers confronted the query, “Are we going to be able to plant this year?”
“The guy I hired last year to work on the farm was from South Africa,” Heigle stated. “At the time when I picked him up in Jackson at the end of February, the fields were all flooded just like the spring of 2019. I told him we may be twiddling our thumbs all year, but I hoped we would get to plant.”
Fortunately, the waters began receding, they usually have been in a position to plant all however one subject.
“For a little while, we were all on pins and needles thinking the year was going to be a repeat of the flooding in 2019, but we were able to start planting corn on April 18 last year,” he stated. “It felt good to be farming again because the 12 months earlier than I felt like I used to be jobless.
“Unfortunately, there were still a lot of farmers in Valley Park who were not able to plant last year, and I hope this year they can plant a crop. It has been two years in a row where a lot of people were not able to have a crop. It has been a tough couple of years for farmers in the area.”
2021, off to a greater begin
The waters are rising again this 12 months, however he and a number of other different farmers within the space have been in a position to plant earlier, in response to Heigle.
“This year we already have most of our corn planted as of today, April 7,” Heigle stated. “We began planting on March 13, so we’re a bit forward. Additionally, it seems like it will likely be a greater 12 months for soybeans.
“If I remember correctly, there is a little over 300,000 acres flooded right now in the Yazoo Backwater Area, around 90,000 is cropland. We have some land starting to go under that I have not planted on in three years. Hopefully, I will get to plant on that field this year if it dries up.”
Heigle plans on planting half his acres in corn and the opposite half in soybeans.
“I have about 300 more acres of corn to plant,” he stated. “We’ll get it planted, however it will likely be a bit late. These final couple of weeks, the final half of March starting of April, have been moist, and a chilly spell damage the corn a bit bit and turned some of the corn leaves a bit yellow.
“The ice storm in February made us a bit nervous going into the planting season, but March had nice weather, and we were able to get started with planting.”
Heigle has one pump to assist pump off some water in fields, however to date, this 12 months they haven’t had to make use of it.
“My son-in-law, Jeremy, is now working with me on the farm, and we had to block off a few places to help keep the water back,” Heigle stated. “What bothers us essentially the most for many who farm alongside the Mississippi River Levee is the seep water. Even in years the place we wouldn’t have backwater issues, we often all the time cope with seep water.
“When the river comes up, the seep water does too in a few fields, so we try to plant around it and avoid those areas.”
Making an attempt cowl crops
Heigle planted round 180 acres of cereal rye on the finish of 2020.
“It was my first time trying out cereal rye,” he stated. “We’ve planted wheat up to now, however now we have not planted wheat in the previous couple of years with the moist winters.
“The cereal rye was up about three inches tall when we sprayed it, and then we planted the corn into it. The soil is sandy in the field we planted the cereal rye in, so hopefully, the cover crop will help hold some of the sand and keep it from blowing around until the corn grows some more.”
For Heigle’s land, the cereal rye appears to develop higher than wheat, and he plans to plant it again within the coming fall.
“We spread it with a spreader in the fall and incorporated it in when we rowed it up,” Heigle stated, “and so far, I have already noticed a difference.”