Flooding Concerns to Remain into Planting Season

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its 2020 National Hydrologic Assessment report which provides an extended forecast for water-related issues. For farmers who are still feeling the impacts of the record levels of participation in 2019, the 2020 weather pattern tracking similar to that of the 2019 pattern is concerning as last year saw farmers experience issues including late plantings, crop yield losses, and transportation issues once harvest was complete.

For comparison, last year’s outlook is included, which highlighted more extensive major flooding throughout the Red River, Missouri and Mississippi river systems. A generally wider area of the northern Plains and western Corn Belt was expected to, and ultimately did, experience flooding early in the 2019 planting season. Beyond the transportation sector, which experienced challenges throughout much of the spring and summer period, the impact of this flooding beyond the transportation sector was record-large filings for prevented planting insurance. In the Midsouth, growers of rice, soybeans, corn, and cotton also experienced considerable planting delays or acres were relegated to prevented plantings.

Predictions of flooding in the Upper and Middle Mississippi River, and across the Red River of the North basins in the northern Plains and upper Midwest have been realized. Due to much above normal precipitation in 2019 saturating soils combined with above-normal snowpack, particularly across eastern North Dakota, northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, and Lake Superior, the risk of flooding was very high. The higher than normal flow from upstream combined with a wet winter has resulted in the Lower Mississippi River experiencing widespread minor to moderate flooding. The ongoing flooding is anticipated to continue well into this spring, which will hamper planting and transportation flows.

Alan Barrett
Alan Barrett

Director of Research and Consulting

Higby Barrett LLC

Alan Barrett is the Director of Research and Consulting for HIgby Barrett LLC. He is an accomplished commodity economist with more than 25 years of experience in futures and cash markets with a focus on cotton, commodity projects, non-traditional agricultural products, transportation and supply chain studies. Alan spent six years as a commodity futures broker. His expertise encompasses feasibility studies of oilseed crushing plants (soybean canola, and cottonseed), grain elevators, export elevators, shuttle elevators, grain container operations, flourmills and other processing facilities. Alan also has conducted transportation supply chain studies for grains, oilseeds, fertilizer, coal, natural gas, crude oil, and petroleum products. Alan has considerable experience in non-traditional agricultural products such as coal, coke, natural gas, chemicals, hydraulic fracturing fluid, hydraulic fracturing proppants, glycerin, fertilizer, micronutrients, salt, limestone, cement, iron ore, pig iron, and steel, especially feed ingredients. Mr. Barrett has a BS and MS in Agricultural Economics from the University of Tennessee.