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Iowa Crop Damage Acreage Estimates Growing

Wind damage west of Iowa City
Wind damage west of Iowa City

Crop damage in Iowa from the storm system one week ago may exceed some of the early estimates, according to a number of analysts, so that’s a very large number that appears to be getting larger. State officials in Iowa came up with a 10 million acre estimate about mid-week last week.

Dustin Hoffman at the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network says the new estimate represents a 40 percent jump.

“Iowa has 30 million acres of agricultural crop land,” he says. “When you look at the map and path of destruction this storm crossed, and you can see pictures from satellite where you can see damage done, that’s how intense this has become, it looked about like a third of the state. Take a 70-mile swath on a state that’s 216 miles north to south, you’re looking at roughly a third of the state. So, 10 million was the rough estimate. Now the USDA RMA (Risk Management Agency) has come in and estimated more accurately at 14 million acres.”

The estimate includes more that 5.5 million acres of soybeans and over 8 million acres of corn. The corn number is acres affected, not acres succumbing to green snap which would effectively kill off the plant. Hoffman is surprised at how little actual green snap he has seen.

“Now the further north you get up where Iowa State is in Ames there was a lot more green snap and just sheered off corn fields where it looked like someone laid down and machine gunned the crops. Those corn fields are really hurting but I have seen less of that than I have seen it. I’ve seen a lot of bent over stalks but they’re still green. We’re looking at a week later now and they’re flat but they’re green, so it’s telling me there’re nutrients getting to those corn plants.”

Luther Iowa damage west of Ames
Luther Iowa damage west of Ames

Regardless of the amount of green snap, harvest was made a whole lot more difficult by this storm. Iowa’s corn crop condition rating fell to 59 percent good to excellent from 69 percent last Monday. Notably, there was a drop of 8 percent in the soybean condition in the state.

Whether on the farm or in the city, there is a lot of recovery to be made from last Monday. It’s so bad in Cedar Rapids that Hoffman reports people have gone to the airport for a Wi-Fi signal to communicate with friends and relatives. Downed power lines, trees and even grain bins have closed many roads, and electricity is slow to return.

One way others can help is through Iowa Farm Bureau which has developed the Farming Community Disaster Exchange message board available here.

(Pictures courtesy John Zanker of Risk Management Commodities)