Floods annihilate Gasconade County farmer's harvest

Area farmers told KRCG 13 Saturday this week's floods eliminated any hope of a harvest.

Brothers Clyde and Nolan Hesemann said they were hoping to recover from last summer's drought until this week's flooding inundated their corn and soybean fields. Clyde said of the 700 acres he has scattered along the Gasconade River, just two escaped the waters. This represents about $360,000 lost in planting costs alone, since he said it costs about $450 to plant an acre of corn and $350 to plant an acre of soybeans.

As long as the Gasconade didn't deposit large amounts of sand or rip holes in the soil, Hesemann said the land should recover in six to eight weeks. This would allow him to plant wheat in order to get something for the harvest, but he noted wheat doesn't fetch the prices corn and soybeans do.

In the meantime, Hesemann said he will have to cut back on his expenses as much as he can, such as limiting his use of fertilizer. He has already sold last year's crop, which was limited by drought. He pointed to one section of land near U.S. 50 that gave him just 1.7 bushels of soybeans last year but was on its way to giving him 50 until the Gasconade overflowed.

Nolan Hesemann said belt-tightening on the farmers' part would have a ripple effect on stores in nearby towns like Mt. Sterling that do business with farmers.

"We won't buy any fuel to harvest a crop that we don't have, and we'll probably reduce our fertilizer purchases next spring because we didn't use up the fertilizer we have," he said, adding that if farmers do less business with area dealers, those dealers won't employ as many people or will cut back on their hours.

Clyde Hesemann said he has crop insurance, so he will be compensated for his losses. The brothers said the Gasconade did not affect enough farms to make a noticeable impact on food prices.