After drought, upper Midwest now too soggy to farm

(CBS News) CHANNAHON, Ill. -- Last July, Bob Bleuer's farm in Channahon, Ill., was dying of thirst. Burned brown from the unrelenting drought, his corn, wheat, hay and soybean crop yields were off by two-thirds.

Now, it's just the opposite.

This has been the wettest spring in 40 years for much of the nation's corn belt. Rainfall in parts of the upper Midwest is eight inches above normal.

Three inches fell Wednesday night alone on the Bleuer farm.

So this season, his hay fields are too soggy to plow. His wheat is bent and beaten from the storms.

Asked if he thinks his corn crop will be OK, he replies, "What isn't under water, yes."

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The pond that appeared two days ago prevented him from seeding his 120-acre field of soybeans. You need an imagination to visualize what it should look like.

Watch: When Dean Reynolds visited him last year, Bob Bleuer's farm was dying of thirst, below.

Bleuer says he doesn't know how deep the water is.

"I'm not walking out to find out," he says. "But it's probably a foot-and-a-half, two feet."

More suitable for seafood -- which he found in the field.

"It's a long way from the river, and I don't know how it got here," he says of a fish that washed ashore.

The National Weather Service says the unseasonably wet spring was caused by a low-pressure system that hovered for months from the Northern Plains to the Southeast, producing above-normal precipitation. More rain is forecast for the area this weekend.

  • Dean Reynolds
    Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.