The Power of III
"This is by far the most devastating flooding we've ever seen here," said Robert Hayes, director of the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture's West Tennessee Research and Education Center.
Hayes said a dollar estimate on the damage is hard to know now. Some damage -- such as broken fences or lost crop acreage -- is easy to quantify, while other damage -- such as long-term effects of siltation in bottom lands or the shifting of crop-friendly organic matter -- isn't easy to count now or ever. New damage figures continue to roll in, he said, and a good, base estimate might not be known until fall.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that 8 percent of the state's crops -- including corn, wheat, hay and livestock -- had "severe" storm damage.
East Tennessee districts, though, reported no severe corn crop damage, but West Tennessee districts reported an average of 22 percent severe corn crop damage.
UT Extension agent Steve Glass reported "still-flooded fields" across Decatur County that will destroy the season's first hay crop.
Nearly 40,000 acres are under water in hard-hit Dyer County, according to UT area specialist integrated pest management Gene Miles. Of that, 8,000 acres of crops are submerged -- 5,000 acres of corn, 2,000 acres of wheat and 1,000 acres of cotton.
Flood waters also damaged the CSX rail line that runs from Memphis to Nashville. Rail spurs that bring fertilizer to farmers have been damaged, meaning that trucking fertilizer instead will add significant planting costs for farmers.