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Too much rain is causing damage to crops, costing farmers thousands

Many farmers are seeing major crop damage as they wait for flood waters to recede.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – Many farmers are seeing major crop damage as they wait for flood waters to recede.

Kevin Sykes, a farmer in Oneida County, says the rain has already cost him about $100,000.

"In the last month we've tracked with our own rain gauge here, right in the township of Augusta - 21 inches of rain,” said Sykes, the owner of Willow Run Farms. According to him - that is too much rain for corn crops - about 19 inches too much.

Sykes estimates that up to 20 percent of his crops have been ruined by the rain and he said if it continues to rain, he believes half of his corn crop could be destroyed.

"They've bred the genetics into corn to be tolerant of a drought. But, it is not tolerant of saturated soil conditions,” Sykes said.

That means Willow Run Farms won't produce as big of a yield this year. The damage goes far beyond corn. His soybean crops are also drowning and crews haven't had enough good weather to cut hay as often as they need to.

Efforts to save the plants with nitrogen treatments are pricey.

"We'll probably treat around 600 acres and our cost is going to be between $50 and $75 an acre,” Sykes said. "It is a sick feeling to see the work and the effort that you put in, the expense, washed down the stream."

Sykes says he has enough cash in reserves, so he'll be able to weather this storm. But, he'll still be following the forecast closely.

"In agriculture, it is hard to make advances financially. It is incremental. So, when you have a year like this, it will set you back two, three, four years and if you were in a position financially that was very unstable, it could be the end of your business,” Sykes said.

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