Report: Iowa’s derecho crop losses increase by more than 50%

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Estimates of crop loss from a rare wind storm that hit Iowa in August have increased by more than 50%, according to a new report.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Friday the number of arable land Iowa farmers cannot harvest has increased to 850,000 (343,983 acres) after an estimated 550,000 acres were lost last month, reported the Des Moines Register.
The storm known as Derecho produced winds of up to 225 km / h which flattened the crops. The damage was then exacerbated by a drought in late summer that swept much of the state at its height. After a few rainfalls in September, the drought increased again.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig said he believed the number of acres lost will continue to increase as growers dig deeper into the crops. Typically, farmers try to harvest cut corn and save what they can. But Naig said he said he heard many crop insurance specialists ask to take another look at their fields after finding it more difficult than expected.
"Harvests can deteriorate," said Naig, who helped his father harvest corn in northwestern Iowa. "It's a very dynamic situation."
In eastern Iowa, Steve Swenka said the harvest of his deforested corn "was just miserable".
"I saw the color scale: corn down, flat as a carpet. Some leaned. A little halfway. And some almost normal," said Swenka, whose crop near Iowa City feeds his thoroughbred black Angus cattle. " I was at the extreme. "
Average Iowa corn yields are expected to drop to 186 bushels an acre, the USDA estimates, compared to projections of 191 bushels in September and 202 bushels in August.

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