Salvaging Crops After Flooding
Hans Kandel, Agronomist
Recovery of Alfalfa, Irrigated Pastures and Hay
Many factors affect the extent of crop damage after a flood. Seasonal temperatures can be a major factor. A July flood, for example, is often much worse for crop survival than a spring flood. The warmer mid-summer weather increases the rate of damage and death to submerged plants. During spring flooding, temperatures are colder and plants can survive longer under water.
Plants that encounter flash-flooding along creeks where the water rises and recedes quickly are most likely to survive. They will experience less oxygen depletion than submerged plants. Other factors for survival include water movement and plant height. Standing water is more harmful than moving water. Plants with some leaves protruding from the water are more likely to live.
Restoration of alfalfa, irrigated pastures, perennials and hay will depend heavily on all of these factors. But it also depends on the steps you take toward recovery.