Crop damage estimates are better than expected - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Crop damage estimates are better than expected

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BENTON COUNTY (KWWL) -

There is good news for many Iowa farmers. It appears many of the crops damaged by Monday's massive windstorm may recover, and even produce a decent yield in the fall.

Winds of more than one hundred miles per hour flattened at least 5,000 acres of farmland in Benton County alone.

Next week, state, local, and federal teams will conduct damage assessments in Benton, Tama, Story, and Marshall County. But first, farmers are meeting with ISU Extension Directors to gather the latest information from agriculture experts and from each other.

Wayne Siela was among dozens of farmers gathered at a farm south of Vinton Thursday afternoon.

"Got close to 1,600 acres of corn, and they're pretty much flat," said Siela.

They met with experts from the ISU Extension, but many of the farmers were truly there to talk to each other.

"Find out, what'd you have, what'd you have? You know, farmers are great about that. They like to talk to each other, find out what's going on with their neighbors," said Greg Walstrom, Benton County ISU Program Director.

What's going on, is that the corn is rising up.

"Monday morning at 9:00, you could have seen a rabbit run across this field. But as you can see, from where the base of the root is, it's laying flat on the ground and it's coming up," said Siela.

It's called goose-necking. The stem is still intact, although the root may be stretched. Walstrom explained, as long as the stalk is not broken, it can still grow.

"It's not going to be pretty when you harvest it, it's going to be a pain in the rear, but it's going to at least generate a crop. We don't have a total loss," said Walstrom.

Initial estimates are a loss of 10- 25%, depending on location.

"I'm skeptical of that. If it's 10 or 20%, I'll take that right now. But I think it's going to be worse than that. But we won't know until fall," said Siela.

Either way, it's a challenge with which farmers are far too familiar.

"Mother Nature has an Ace of Spades, and every once in a while she slaps it on the table to show you who's boss. And it was our time this year," Siela added.

Farmers at Thursday's meeting were primarily focused on help for their crops. But the ISU Extension also offers help for the farmers themselves. Directors explain, this great of a loss can lead to stress and depression. They recommend you call their Concern Hotline: 1-800-447-1985.

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