Midwest corn and soybean crops hammered by Aug. 10 derecho
A widespread thunderstorm system known as a derecho rolled through the Midwest on Aug. 10, damaging fields of corn and soybeans and causing extensive damage to agricultural infrastructure, across at least four states. The storm reportedly affected 37.7 million acres of Midwest farmland. Iowa and Illinois appear to be the worst hit, with reports of extensive crop and infrastructure damage across 57 Iowa counties. According to an Aug. 17 report in the Des Moines Register, 6.1 million acres of corn and soybeans were flattened in Iowa, and the state’s agricultural damage alone is estimated at $3.8 billion.
Iowa is the No. 1 corn-producing state. In the National Agricultural Statistics Service August Crop Report, the state was forecast to produce 2.737 billion bushels of corn, accounting for 18% of the nation’s forecast corn crop. In addition, Iowa’s soybean crop, forecast at 540 million bushels, accounted for 12% of the nation’s soybean crop. The production statistics for both crops are likely to drop due to the damage from the storm, and tens of millions of bushels of grain storage being lost.
According to the University of Illinois Extension, 6.95 million acres of corn and 5.82 million acres of soybeans were exposed to the storm in Illinois. Illinois Extension also noted that corn and soybean prices had declined in anticipation of a large harvest in both crops, while the USDA noted that corn and soybean quality in both states were affected by the storm.
The derecho included wind gusts up to 130 mph, according to the National Weather Service. To facilitate the neighbor-helping-neighbor process, the Iowa Farm Bureau has developed the Farming Community Disaster Exchange – an online message board where individuals can offer help to those impacted by the storm system. To participate, visit www.gfb.ag/IowaFBdisasterexchange.