How Long Will Submerged Crops Survive?

It’s been said that all humor, to some extent, is based on pain. The point is certainly true in rain-drenched Minnesota, which some jokesters say is now the land of 100,000 lakes. Farmers in parts of the state, and in South Dakota, too, have crops under water, and are wondering how long the crops can survive that way.

South Dakota State University Extension officials say the answer depends on several factors. They include:

— Plants lower respiration rates and slow growth of shoots to adapt to temporary reduction in oxygen levels. Generally, most annual crops can tolerate 3 to 7 days of excessive water, with forage legumes tolerating 9 to 14 days.

— The temperature affects plants’ ability to survive excess water stress. The higher the temperature, the faster the rate of oxygen depletion.

— Soil types also affects plants’ ability to survive when submerged. Clay soils tend to hold water longer, increasing the length of time that crops are at risk.

Spring was wet and miserable across much of the Upper Midwest. So far, summer is even worse.