Corn flattened by the derecho. (Iowa Ag Department photo)

Assessment teams are fanned out across Iowa, working to determine how many millions of acres of cropland were damaged or destroyed by the August 10th derecho.

Farmers in central Iowa’s Story County were among those impacted by the storm’s powerful winds. Story County Extension field agronomist Meaghan Anderson says damage varies from field to field. “You can see anything from corn that is still standing all the way to corn that’s flat on the ground and there’s a lot of it that’s in between,” Anderson says. “There’s a lot that’s either root-lodged or pinched over but that’s not yet dead.”

Many producers in the region are unsure how to proceed with whatever plants survived. “Some of the main questions that I’ve been fielding right now are questions about what we can or can’t do with the crop, what the expectation is for the rest of the season,” Anderson says, “and what we need to be thinking about as we head toward harvest and even past harvest and into 2021.”

For the most part, Anderson says soybeans fared well, with some fields leaning, though the corn is a much different story.
“We’re going to have low test weights in a lot of these fields. We may be looking at things like ear rots and potential for mycotoxins as well as things like stock quality,” Anderson says. “Any of the stuff that’s still partially harvestable, it’s going to continue to be more of a challenge to get as we advance further into the fall.”

Anderson says most farmers are insured for their crops, with the bigger issue for coverage being on the infrastructure that was damaged.

(By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)