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High river levels could affect corn crops

The level of the Missouri River was rising in the Jefferson City area Wednesday, and local farmers are getting concerned for their planting seasons.

“We’re at the time of year where it’s time to start applying fertilizer and chemicals to get ready to plant corn,” said Jay Fischer, a farmer in the Jefferson City area.

Fischer said that April 5 is the target day to plant corn.

“It’s awful hard when the river is as high as it is right now, with the danger of a possible flood, to go out and spending a bunch of input costs to the land,” he said.

Fischer owns Fischer Grain Farms in Jefferson City and grows corn and soybeans, along with many other crops.

Fischer said the area gets “seep water” when the river level is high.

“It’s not a flood,” he said. “But we get a lot of ponding and standing water that percolates up through the soil.”

He said this seep water keeps farmers like himself from planting crops.

“It’s not like it’s a bad flood, but it keeps you from being able to do anything because it’s so wet and muddy you can’t travel the ground,” Fischer said.

The most recent Missouri River forecasts on gauges in the mid-Missouri area show minor to moderate flooding with a crest expected late Wednesday or early Thursday. Another crest is expected next week.

Corn crops are already being affected, according to Fischer. He said that right now, the United States has a surplus of corn, but if farmers aren’t able to have a good growing season this year, that will affect consumers.

Fischer said that short term, this will not affect the consumer, but it could have long term effects in the future.

“It’s more of a delayed reaction,” he said. “If we went this year without raising corn crops, we may not see a huge effect from it until the end of this year.”

“The corn we raise in Missouri is feed,” Fischer mentioned. “If the corn prices would go up because of the reduction in the amount of corn produced, you could see it in the price of pork, chicken and beef.
Those would be the long term effects.”

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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