Crop losses add upRED WING - If it were just hail or high winds, that would have been one thing.
By: Mike Longaecker, The Republican Eagle, Worthington Daily Globe
RED WING - If it were just hail or high winds, that would have been one thing.
But the combination of both two weeks ago today left many area farmers reeling when their soybeans and corn plants were battered in the storm.
“In some places, it’s as bad as I’ve ever seen soybean damage,” said Dave Nicolai, a regional crop educator for the University of Minnesota Extension program.
Some farmers watched as entire crops were decimated in the agonizing few minutes it took the storm to travel through north-central Goodhue County.
Now that insurance agents have been able to make their way out to area fields and assess the damage, officials have added up the losses.
According to Farm Service Agency, Goodhue County farmers have received about $17.5 million in total damage estimates due to the storm.
Corn took the heaviest hit, with an estimated $9.5 million in losses spread across 17,500 damaged or destroyed acres, said Mike Ahlrichs, FSA executive director for Goodhue County.
An estimated 7.5 percent of the county’s corn was affected, according to the FSA.
But Ahlrichs said area soybean damage was more prolific. Approximately 17 percent of the county’s bean crop was damaged or destroyed, he said.
At least 15,300 soybean acres — $6 million worth — were affected by the storm, according to FSA projections.
“I’m hearing it’s been a while since they’ve seen anything like this,” Ahlrichs said.
Though considered significant, Ahlrichs said the percentage loss doesn’t meet the threshold needed to qualify the county for disaster relief. State and federal officials typically authorize disaster funding when 30 percent of crops are lost.
Also calculated in the total was damage to service dwellings, which Ahlrichs said added up to an estimated $2 million.
Despite the losses, farmers will be keeping a close eye on corn stalks that sustained marginal damage. Nicolai said to expect some regrowth. In some cases, farmers can replant their crop with a focus on grain for livestock feed.
But the midseason timing of the storm puts farmers in a pickle as they consider replanting options, Nicolai said.
“The problem is, the calendar is against us,” he said.
That could mean farmers squeezing in a replacement soybean crop, Nicolai said, but noted that would also mean yield decreases.
He said many farmers will decide their next move after insurance claims have been resolved.
In the meantime, Extension agents have issued emergency forage options for mid-to late-July planting.
The FSA offers low-interest loans for farmers, Ahlrichs noted.
The agency also provides insurance for crops considered non-insurable by other firms.