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RIPLEY, Tenn. — Flood waters in West Tennessee are keeping farmers out of their fields and could delay spring planting, a University of Tennessee agricultural extension agent said Thursday.

 Richard Buntin said farm fields are flooded in West Tennessee counties near the Mississippi River, such as Dyer, Lake, Lauderdale and Tipton counties.

For instance, about 100,000 acres of Lauderdale County bottomland is flooded, including about 70,000 acres of corn, cotton and soybean fields, he said.

 “We’re not hurting as far as time right now. Normal corn planting would not have started yet, though most farmers may have begun ground preparation,” Buntin said. “If this water stays on another two weeks it will begin to delay planting.”

 Forecasters predict storms may drop 2-3 inches of rain over West Tennessee this week and further delay floodwater recession.

Buntin said if the rains end by this weekend and with plenty of sun and wind to dry out topsoil, farmers might begin preparing fields in about 10 days.

 Flooding may already have had an impact on farming, he said.

“What we’re possibly facing is washed out bridges, roads and structures and damage to fields from erosion and sand deposits,” Buntin said.

 “Flood waters also deposit weed seeds. In the river bottom we face all kinds of weeds — from Illinois and Ohio — that we normally would not have.”


 Contact: Richard Buntin (901-635-9551)