2008 has been such a roller coaster, I will be glad when the new year rolls in.
Coming off an amazing year with record yields everyone was very excited for what 2008 could bring. A wet spring dampened some of the hype and the first flood made those who already planted there corn replant it, but man the corn that didn't get flooded was already waist high and it wasn't even the end of May yet. Most of the corn surrounding Oakville was the best corn I have seen that early and everyone was talking about it; which, is why the flood made it that much more heart breaking.
By the time the first of June rolled in many farmers where rushing to side dress because the corn was starting to get to tall and they need to get the Nitrogen on, because the wet spring had leached most of it away. About this time news start to roll in about flooding up north, but no one really gave it much thought. What we didn't know was that the water was never lowered in the reservoirs from the spring, because of a possible drought.
On the 11th of June everyone was talking about a possible flood, but everyone was not worried because the levees had held in 1993. I talked with a few of my friends and asked if his grandparents were going to move and he said they were not worried. That night there was a emergence meeting at the Drainage Districts office.
I awoke the next mourning to a phone call asking for help to move. I wasn't really prepared for what I saw when I drove over the "big ditch", It was a sea of semi's hauling grain and hogs out of the Oakville bottoms. I wish I would of had my camera, but I wasn't there to take pictures I was there to help. There was roughly 24 hog confinements and roughly 20 gain storage sights plus TriOak's elevators, and everyone of them was completely full. Grain was the most important, because there is not insurance on it, so while the women stayed and packed, everyone else moved livestock and grain.
I don't think I slept much the next two days while I helped move, and once everything was about gone our group was about to go sandbag when the news turned bad. I live on the south side of the big ditch (1/2 mile) and everyone to the north was ordered to a mandatory evacuation, and then the news rolls in that everyone that lives south of the big ditch to Burlington is urged to leave, but not mandatory.
Little comparison: North of the big ditch 17,500 acres; south of big ditch to Burlington 32,750 acres.
June 14 we got our van trailer and started to move out, a few hours later the we got the official papers of a mandatory evacuation and we had to be out ASAP, because they didn't think the big ditch would hold. At one point there was 30 people at our house alone helping move us out. I got a phone call from a friend who was on levee patrol and he said the water was coming up a foot an hour and they were heading to the pumping station to wait to cut the power and raise the pumps.
Roughly an hour later reports that the levee was breaking started to roll in. And we lost all of our help, so we decided to move to high ground. Not sure who they were, but a group of volunteers rushed to the weak area in the levee and fixed 2 breaks, buying roughly an hour, but the water came up to fast. It was roughly 2 inches a minute, towards the end.
It only took several hours before the water reached the big ditch and the Mississippi levee, but they held with the help of thousands of volunteers and national guard members. They sandbagged roughly 20 some miles of levee 3 feet tall.
I was able to get a few days of pictures, but they don't show the emotion and the pain. I'm just grateful of all of the volunteers who came out in our time of need.
After the water receded more helpers poured in to help clean up and they still continue to clean up as a write this, but it really is a ghost town when you drive though the area.
On a positive note, the flood made the farmers sell all of there corn at the market price, which at the time was around $7.02/ bu and it also showed that there is still many out there who will drop everything to give a helping hand when needed.
Those who were able to get in a replant soybeans around July 7 were able to get 30 bu/acre which is pretty good.
For the rest of the farms that didn't get flooded saw awesome yields across the board; ~70 bu/acre average soybeans and 190~250 bu/acre average for corn (some even saw higher yields)
Currently they are still a handful of soybeans (about 95% done) to get out and roughly 60% of the corn in the area is out, just waiting for it to dry out now.
Thank you for reading this long yearly rap up, but I wanted to give you an idea of the trials our area here in the Oakville bottoms went.