Farmers hit hard by Duluth-area rains
By Carol Stender
Date Modified: 08/02/2012 2:00 PM
WRENSHALL, Minn. — Peter Laveau has never seen this much water on his Wrenshall dairy farm.
His eight-inch tall corn is underwater. Fields bear the signs of erosion and some area roads are washed out from torrential rains that hit northeast Minnesota June 19.
Duluth, a mere 20 miles northeast of Laveau's farm, received nine inches of rain. Laveau figures his farm received 12 inches within 12 hours.
The downpour followed a similar event about three weeks ago when his farm received 10 and a half inches of rain.
Laveau harvested alfalfa between the two downpours, but He had 15 acres of hay down before the latest deluge, but doesn't think he'll get that off.
"You can't get out there now," he said. "It will be a good week of dry weather before you can even think of going out and then you will still probably put ruts in the field."
Laveau milks 100 cows. He has 700 acres with 180 of them in corn, 65 in oats and the rest in alfalfa and grass hay.
Laveau dealt with four inches of water in the barn after the last deluge. Then the power went off.
"By 6 a.m. I had a pretty good headache going," he said.
Further north, about 90 miles from Duluth, Marvin Pearson didn't experience the deluge that Laveau and others did,
The growing season is short, so Pearson grows barley for his 85 milk cows and 42 beef cattle.
The Pearson farm had four inches of rain in one week.
His barley crop got yellow and was nicked by frost, but it was coming around until last week's rain, Pearson said.
He has harvested 225 of 800 acres of hay.
"Somehow we will muddle through," Pearson said. "Our biggest concern is the barley. We hope it doesn't get hurt with all this rain. Maybe if it clears up, the barley will make it and we can get a decent crop."
Both Laveau and Pearson are closely watching the weather.