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Flooding leaves uncertainty for area farmers

Coon Valley, Wis. (WXOW) – Kevin Semke’s farm is located on high ground near Coon Valley, but even that didn’t help to escape flooding in late August.

Even though we’re on top of the ridge, we had water in the basement and had to contend with that,” Semke said. “But the other thing was we were concerned about the crops.”

Thankfully, with the corn and soybeans further along in their growth, Semke said they were able to weather the storm. Others in the area were not so lucky.

We’re still going to have ditches and that stuff,” he said. “…but it isn’t anything like what happened down in the valleys.”

Nearby lower valley farms are still covered in mud, some with only small showings of life left.

With what’s survived, the biggest concerns now are debris that could damage equipment and contamination.

It’s possible that some of this stuff might be contaminated to the point where it can’t be used,” Semke said.

Crops sitting in contaminated water could carry pathogens. UW-Extension Agriculture Educator Kaitlyn Lance explained that it’s not always dangerous.

It depends on the flooding source,” Lance said “If they’re close to like say, city sewage or their manure pit or a river […] some of that could be potentially infected with different pathogens.”

If a crop tests positive for those pathogens that means the entire crop could be lost revenue.

It’ll be rejected,” Semke said. “…even to try and use it for feed for your animals, that wouldn’t be a good thing to do.”

Testing will take time, so it’s an anxious waiting game as they head toward harvest season.

You’re waiting and you’re hoping that it all works for the good,” Semke said.

Sam Shilts

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