See Why Crop Tour Scouts Had a Tough Time Measuring Derecho Damage

As Pro Farmer Crop Tour scouts crossed into eastern Iowa on Tuesday, they were greeted by field after field of devastation.

“The (crops) seem to be standing good enough they may make it into the combine,” says Kyle Wendland, an Iowa farmer who spent the week scouting the eastern leg of the tour. “I have my doubt on some of these,” he adds.

Wendland and other scouts were stepping over flattened corn, trying to make sense of what where the crop was planted before the story.

“It's not a good situation by any means,” he says, trying to measure a damaged field.  

Corn stalks tangled together, some kinked, while other stalks were broken and turning brown. Those were some of the sights Eastern leg Pro Farmer scout tour lead Brian Grete saw this week. Grete lives in eastern Iowa, and even he was surprised just how much damage there is.

“It's a mess out here,” says Grete. “This one had a fermented smell. So, some of those stalks are  snapped off. You're starting to get that smell as you go into the field.”

Corn abruptly turning brown was a sign of a sudden mess for an eastern Iowa crop that showed great promise in early August.

“This corn is dented, so it was maturing pretty rapidly, but now it's a race against time in terms of how much you can get out of here even on what your potential is left,” Grete adds.

Pro farmer Crop Tour trying to measure potential in recently damaged fields.

“One of the difficulties is we go past the end rows, and then we start pacing out 35 paces, in some of the cases, it's really hard to tell where the end rows are to begin with,” says Grete.

A difficult job to measure what is damaged and lost, and what can still be salvaged.

“If it’s snapped below the ear, obviously that won’t be able to be harvested,” he says. “In a lot of cases, you have to get down and actually pull the stock up to see what row it's in to separate them. And then whether or not it has a viable ear still left on it and/or has been snapped off, and the process just takes quite a bit longer than our normal stop would.”

While scouts tried to make sense of it all, area farmers are also trying to hurry and create a game plan for this fall.

“We talked to a couple of farmers yesterday, and they indicated that they'll go after every bushel that they can,” says Grete. “I’d like to talk to a couple more farmers today to get their opinions as we move further through this wind damage story.”

A tough job for tour scouts trying to measure damage, but an even harder job for farmers who have a slow and grueling harvest ahead.


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