Storm Alert: Ida Menaces Sugar, Soybean Crops Despite Storm Downgrade

30 August 2021

Tropical Storm Ida is spreading its wrath northeast into Mississippi on Monday after coming ashore in Louisiana on Sunday as a category 4 hurricane that brought flooding and massive power outages and temporarily shut down US Gulf oil production.  

An estimated 8 to 14 inches of rain has already fallen in southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi, and an additional 4 to 6 inches is possible through Tuesday in inland parts of Mississippi and central Tennessee. Sugarcane and soybean crops in counties around New Orleans, and peanuts in southern Alabama show the highest risk of flood damage, while cotton areas in northern Mississippi and Tennessee soybeans are projected to be in Ida’s path as the storm makes its way north.

View this Gro Display showing crops’ distribution through the region.  

Crops could feel the impact for weeks due to initial damage from the storm, followed by farmers’ inability to get heavy equipment into flooded fields for harvest. Gro’s Climate Risk Navigator shows rainfall forecast for growing areas in east-central Mississippi, in the chart at bottom left. 

New Orleans represents the largest single corridor for exports of US soybeans and corn, and Ida’s impact on shipping and Mississippi barge traffic also could be substantial. This forecast shows New Orleans with a total of around 10 inches of rainfall through Tuesday. 

Ida’s path is projected to continue up through Tennessee on Tuesday. Central Tennessee could see flooding, with 4-6 inches of rain forecast, threatening some important soybean areas in the state.  

Meanwhile, soybean areas on the peripheries of the storm could benefit from beneficial additional rain, including in Ohio, southern Indiana, and parts of Illinois. This would aid in soybean pod filling, which could boost yield potential, as shown by Gro’s Soybean Yield Forecast Model.  

Ida is tied for the most intense hurricane on record to strike Louisiana, after making landfall on Sunday with 150 mph winds, which brought down trees, ripped off roofs, and left roughly a million customers without power. In addition to storm surge flooding, heavy rainfall will continue to create flash flooding for parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. 

This insight was powered by the Gro platform, which enables better and faster decisions about factors affecting the entire global agricultural ecosystem. Gro organizes over 40,000 datasets from sources around the world into a unified ontology, which allows users to derive valuable insights such as this one. You can explore the data available on Gro with a free account, or please get in touch if you would like to learn more about a specific crop, region, or business issue.

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