Monday storm impacts 10 million acres of Iowa farmland

By P.J. Huffstutter

CHICAGO, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Monday’s derecho storm potentially impacted some 10 million acres (4 million hectares) of Iowa farmland and millions of bushels of grain storage in the top U.S. corn growing state, Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig said on Tuesday.

Early estimates show that tens of millions of bushels worth of commercial grain storage – as well as millions of bushels of on-farm storage bins owned by producers – were either impacted, destroyed, or severely damaged by the storm, Naig told a news conference.

Bin losses, ahead of this fall’s harvest, could leave some farmers scrambling to find storage for their crops, Naig said.

How much of the downed corn will be able to produce a viable crop this fall is unknown, and it is too early to put a total value on the damage to the crop and the state’s overall agricultural sector, Naig said.

But it is too late for farmers to try to replant, agronomists said, given that harvest typically begins in either September or October.

The storm packing hurricane-force winds tore across the U.S. Midwest on Monday, causing widespread property damage in cities and rural towns. More than 1 million U.S. homes and businesses were still without power early on Tuesday.

Global grain trader Archer Daniels Midland Co’s plants in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, Iowa, are offline and being inspected for damage, according to a company spokeswoman and the company’s Twitter account.

Corn is a staple of Iowa’s agricultural economy. The state produced about 2.58 billion bushels of corn in 2019 – or about 19% of all corn grown in the United States, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

This year, USDA reported that Iowa farmers planted 14 million corn acres – or more than half of all the farmland in the state growing grains, oilseeds, and other crops. (Reporting by P.J. Huffstutter in Chicago. Editing by Sandra Maler and Dan Grebler.)

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