Derecho damaged crops

(Des Moines) -- As cleanup efforts continue across Iowa following Monday’s widespread windstorm that swept through the Midwest, farmers are assessing their heavily damaged crop fields and operations.

Many photos and videos began to circulate social media Monday afternoon showing flattened Iowa corn fields, damaged storage facilities, and roofs ripped off of livestock buildings, among many other things. Iowa State University Extension field agronomist Meaghan Anderson described the damage as “sad and devastating.”

“Infrastructure like grain bins, buildings, and livestock housing, as well as the crops themselves. They look pretty terrible,” Anderson said. “We have a lot of flat and bent over corn that is just really devastating to see at this point in the growing season.”

Anderson says the widespread crop damage comes at a time when parts of Iowa was already experiencing D3, or extreme, drought conditions.

“Now (those farmers) have crop on the ground,” she said. “Not only are they going to be harvesting a drought-stressed crop, they are going to be taking their sweet precious time doing it because it will take forever to get it off the ground. Then, we have people who were sitting on what looked like was going to be a really great crop and now harvest for them will be an absolute nightmare as well.”

For any farmers out scouting fields that were impacted by the storms, Anderson says there are a few things to watch for.

“Is it just root launched, bent over, or are the stalks actually snapped? Anything that is root launched or maybe just leaning over, there is a chance – and I don’t know if it’s a great chance – but there is a chance it could stand back up,” Anderson said. “Anything that is snapped below the ear at this point in the season, there is no hope for it.”

Anderson noted it may take 5-to-7 days for farmers to get an idea if their flattened corn crop will try to stand back up. She says there isn’t a lot of data on what happens when crop gets lost this late in the season.

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