Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association

5 Things to Know About Excessive Water and Crops

Hello Wisconsin Potato Industry,

With record-breaking rainfall being recorded throughout the state, what are the actual implications on your crops?

Excessive water and crops – 5 things you should know

1. Crop yield is affected by excessive water just as much as excessive heat or drought. Excessive rainfall reduces US corn yield by as much as 34%. See more

2. Delayed planting reduces yield potential. Historically, University of Wisconsin says 50% of the corn acres should be planted by May 7, but this year maturity varied widely with some acres of corn planted as late as July. Growing degree days (GDD), which drives corn grain maturity, was 300 units behind.

3. An ideal soil has 25% air space and 25% water space. In general, most crops can handle ponded or flooded areas for 36-48 hours without problem and some crops will even survive 3-7 days of excess water stress. But it has been wet all year in some fields so what does that mean to this year’s crops?

4. The excess rainfall all year has physically damaged plants. Without oxygen plant roots cannot perform at 100% and shoot development lags because roots need air for water transpiration and proper nutrient uptake. Read more

5. The excess rainfall also means plants are easily stressed by other environmental factors. In August we actually had a week or more without rain and plants with shallow root systems quickly showed signs of drought stress. What else can happen to stressed crops?

Increased yield losses can mean excess soil nutrients. Excess soil moisture, late planting, and the anticipated late harvest probably means lower yields, but it could also mean crops are leaving nutrients in the field.

Be sure to use obtain a new soil test, use the corn stalk nitrate test to see how the crop used the nitrogen that was available. Request sampling supplies. Use recent lab data with results from other years to adjust the nitrogen fertilizer rates to target optimal yields.


Chris Clark, CCA
AgSource Laboratories

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