Mapping Out Windy Corn Belt Conditions

Wind gusts over 50 mph have swept through the Corn Belt this week, and with 70% of the U.S. corn crop still in the fields, farmers are concerned about down corn. Here's a look at the wind conditions and harvest progress in the top corn producing states.

Farmers around the Corn Belt have reported a variety of damage.

Iowa

The week started off with winds more than 30 mph in western Iowa on Sunday.

Iowa wind map during harvest
Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Monday windspeeds peaked at 60 mph in Emmet county. Gusts over 30 mph were seen statewide.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig farms with his family in Palo Alto county, where wind speeds of 58 mph and greater were recorded Monday, according to Iowa Environmental Mesonet data. "That was pretty concerning," he says. "It took the tops of the corn plants out, but for the most part, we've been pretty pleased with the stand. It's obviously time to get the corn out, but it didn't do as much damage as we thought it might."

Angie Rieck-Hinz is an Iowa State University field agronomist covering Calhoun, Cerro Gordo, Franklin, Hamilton, Humboldt, Webstter, Worth, and Wright counties in the north central part of the state. After a 50 mile commute through her territory she said, "I'm surprised to see a lot of corn still standing with the winds."

Farmer Nate Legler raises corn and soybeans with his family where Kossuth, Humboldt, Wright, and Hancock counties meet and reported some down corn after 40 to 50 mph winds this week. He's thankful the damage isn't extreme, but knows it's important to get the crop out as soon as possible before there's a chance for more damage.

map of iowa wind
Iowa Environmental Mesonet

High winds continued Tuesday with most counties experiencing gusts of 40 mph or greater.

map of iowa wind
Iowa Environmental Mesonet

By Wednesday, the strongest winds died down, but 30 mph gusts were observed in some parts of Iowa.

map of Iowa wind
Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Illinois

Winds were relatively calm in Illinois to start the week on Sunday.

Sunday wind map for Illinois
Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Gusts picked up on Monday and reached 50 mph in the northern half of the state.

Monday wind map for Illinois
Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Winds 50 mph and above were also recorded on Tuesday.

map of illinois wind Tuesday
Iowa Environmental Mesonet

The strongest winds moved out of the area by Wednesday.

map of wind in Illinios
Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Nebraska

The week started with winds up to 63 mph in Cheyenne county, Nebraska on Sunday.

Map of Nebraska wind
Iowa Environmental Mesonet

The strongest winds moved into the central part of the state on Monday, peaking at 66 mph in Lincoln county.

Don Batie farms near Lexington, Nebraska in Dawson county. From a wet spring to high winds, his crop has faced plenty of challenges this season. On Monday, Batie reported "terrible winds, 30 to 40 mph, and gusting up to 50 to 60 mph." He said, "Some corn is starting to blow down. You can really see some hybrid differences." The high winds kept him out of the field. "You could watch the corn blow off the truck," he said.

map of Nebraska winds
Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Gusts continued Tuesday ranging from 25 to 45 mph across Nebraska.

map of nebraska winds
Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Much of the state saw 40 mph winds on Wednesday as well.

By mid-week Batie was able to finish harvesting a test plot and noted lots of wind damaged stalks. However, there weren't many ears on the ground, he said.

map of Nebraska winds
Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Friday, Batie shared this picture of wind damaged crop saying, "I have fields that are worse than this. Some hybrids just broke off the tops, some bent over below the ear, and some fell over at the ground."

Field of wind damaged corn in western Nebraska fall 2019
Photo Credit: Don Batie

Although soybean harvest is complete in his immediate area, Batie says farmers are pushing hard to get corn out before snow and rain hits the region next week.

Read more about

Tip of the Day

Boots dry quickly

Boot dryer from AATF I nailed together 13×5×5-inch pieces of wood, drilled four holes into the top, and screwed in 1½-inch male adapters to accommodate 24-inch-... read more

Crop Talk