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Rural Minnesota farmers struggling with onslaught of rain

Minnesota farmers dealing with flooded fields
Minnesota farmers dealing with flooded fields 02:06

BELLE PLAINE, Minn. — Parts of rural Minnesota have a half-foot more of rain than they did at this point last year, which has caused a different kind of headache for farmers.

"Way too much of a good thing is just that —way too much of a good thing," said Owen Gohlke of Goldkey Farms. 

Three years of drought and dry conditions had Gohlke praying for timely rains. It's now safe to say he got more than he bargained for.

"We're struggling, obviously. We struggled to get planted. We are now struggling to keep the crop alive," said Gohlke. 

That's because many of his fields in Sibley County have turned into lakes.

On one of the 65 acre fields, 30 acres are already lost. It's a high number specially considering there's more rain on the way. 

If things eventually do dry out, Gohlke is worried about weeds. As soon as he planted a field near his homestead, it rained and prevented him from putting down a herbicide.

"It's just been really stressful to watch him be stressed about the responsibility of putting the 119th crop in this field," said Tracy Gohlke, Owen Gohlke's wife. 

Tracy Gohlke helps run Goldkey Farms with her husband. She knows there's plenty of time to recover, and while they can't control Mother Nature, they're now praying for a summer of average weather, not extremes.

"That's my hope is that we get a crop out of this that surprises us in a positive way," said Tracy Gohlke. 

"One of my fields for the 10-year average is 14 inches. And the season total at this point is 23 inches," said Owen Gohlke. "It's way too much, more than the soils can handle."

Owen Gohlke said nitrogen helps crops with photosynthesis, but the rain has washed much of that nitrogen away. Which is why so many corn stalks have a light green color instead of dark green.

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