Production Blog

How Long Can Flooded Crops Survive?

Pamela Smith
By  Pamela Smith , Crops Technology Editor
Connect with Pamela:
The view from the air on July 10, 2011 after the Missouri River flooded crops in the Corn Belt. (DTN file photo by Elaine Shein)

DECATUR, Ill. (DTN) -- Asking how long a crop can hold its breath under water isn't a question a farmer ever really wants to ask. But there are more than a few farmers who need the answer as floodwaters have rushed into thousands of acres across multiple states during the past few days.

University of Nebraska Extension educator Jennifer Rees gave some rules of thumb in her blog. Read it here:….

In general, Rees said here's what farmers can expect given the current crop stages.

-- Corn, prior to V6: Plants can survive under water for two to four days if temperatures do not exceed 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

-- Corn, V7-V10: Plants can survive seven to 10 days if temperatures do not exceed 86 F.

-- Corn, VT-R1: Reduced nutrient uptake and successful pollination if standing water is present longer than two to four days. Yield losses may occur.

-- Soybeans: Yield losses minimal if flooding lasts less than 48 hours. Flooded for four to five days, fewer nodes develop, and plants will be shorter; possible stand and yield loss beyond that.

-- Soybeans at flowering: Potential yield loss, especially on poorly drained soils.

Unfortunately, it is always a bit of a waiting game to see what crops look like after flood waters recede. For more detail on the topic, Rees suggested this report:….

In that document, Purdue University Professor Emeritus of Agronomy Bob Nielsen makes the observation that no one can say with certainty the day after the storm whether a ponded area of a corn field will survive or whether there will be long-term yield consequences. However, Nielsen lists factors that increase or decrease the risks of crop loss. Read that assessment here:…

For DTN stories on the recent flooding go to:

-- "Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota Cope With Extreme Flooding After Torrential Rains,"…

-- "Wet Field Conditions Could Lead to Issues With Lost Nitrogen Fertilizer,"…

Pamela Smith can be reached at

Follow her on social platform X @PamSmithDTN


To comment, please Log In or Join our Community .