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Corn harvest described as “difficult, frustrating, and slow”

IARN — Eastern Iowa farmers gathered at Heartland Co-op in Elberon, IA  on Wednesday for a disaster relief roundtable. Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey and Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig listened as producers aired concerns about the damages sustained from the August 10 derecho.

Many farmers mentioned inconsistencies with crop insurance, similar to a recent discussion with USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) Administrator Martin Barbre. Producers also discussed impacts to harvest.

Tom Hauschel, Chief Executive Officer of Heartland Co-op, says the Iowa-based cooperative sustained considerable damages, topping $150 million in losses.

“Twenty-four million bushels of grain storage has been damaged, 15 million of which is destroyed,” Hauschel says. “We’ll destroy another five million bushels after harvest, and then there’s five million bushels of repairable space. There are multiple locations unable to serve farmers this fall. Down the road, at Chelsea, is the only location we had to completely close this fall. (At) others, we’re piling grain on the ground.”

Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig says, “It’s not that we’re not used to dealing with adverse weather in agriculture.” However, producers are not used to a storm of this “size, scale, and severity.”

“It went from southern South Dakota to western Iowa, and the fact that it was on the ground all across the state. That’s been challenging,” Secretary Naig says. “When you can drive from Carroll to Clinton and never stop seeing corn damage, that is something that’s different.”

Doug Stadler, who farms in eastern Iowa, spoke to wind damaged fields, which have yielded “variable” results.

“Last night (Tuesday), I couldn’t find rows. I set my guidance and let it drive across. It looked ‘not good’ this morning, but I made a swath across the field,” Stadler says. “We’re trying to do parts of every field, or every field we can. I want to try to get what I can versus going in standing corn and disking it under, but it’s very difficult. It’s very slow. It’s also frustrating.”

Story courtesy of the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network.

Image source: ISU Extension and Outreach


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