Soil Experts Predict Most Nebraska Farmland Will Retain Fertile Soil Following Flood

by Willem Roper, NET News

March 29, 2019, 11:30 a.m.

While the fertility of most farmland in Nebraska will be relatively unaffected by the historic March flooding, soil experts with Nebraska Extension said it’s too early to tell the long-term outcomes of land exposed to large amounts of water.

In a report released by soil fertility specialists Charles Wortmann and Bijesh Maharjan, it's anticipated farmland in Nebraska with minimal to moderate flooding exposure should be on schedule for a 2019 harvest. However, the report said it’s too early to predict the long-term negative effects to soil on farmland that still has severe amounts of standing water, ice and debris.

Wortmann, a soil specialist with Nebraska Extension and professor with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, suggested avoiding traffic in fields, delaying application of fertilizer until drier conditions and sampling soil to determine nitrogen.

“With those that are still underwater or under ice, we don’t know what’s there," Wortmann said. "But generally, once it’s dry enough that you can get a crop established – and that’s not likely to be true for all of our cropland in 2019 – with some basic corrective measures it should be in pretty good shape.”

For more information and resources on soil management following the flooding, visit Nebraska Extension.