Hailstorm causes damage to crops during crucial period of growing season

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LUTHER, Iowa — The hailstones from Friday’s storm have melted, but it left a lasting impact on Iowa’s agriculture.

“This weather can essentially stop corn in its tracks and cause really devastating yield loss,” said Meaghan Anderson, an agronomist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Anderson surveyed several damaged fields in the aftermath of the storm, many of which are in Boone County near Luther.

She said the severe weather was a demoralizing turn in what has been an unpredictable growing season for farmers.

“We’ve been getting some good rainfalls recently, and maybe we were optimistic for what we might see for the rest of the growing season,” Anderson said. “To have that wiped out in 20 minutes was pretty disappointing.”

Anderson said many farmers do have hail insurance, but options are limited for the crops struck down by the hail due to when the storm hit.

“It’s somewhat atypical in my experience for this to occur this late in corn’s reproductive cycle,” Anderson said.

Anderson said Iowa State may plan a hail meeting to help guide farmers through possible next steps. Even though the hailstorm was a setback, she believes growers will find a way to adapt.

“For most people, this damage is not going to make up the whole load,” Anderson said. “Unlike the derecho, where in some cases it took out entire farms, hopefully this was a more isolated incident.”

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