Much of the corn in northeast Nebraska was in the V-4 to V-6 stage when golf-ball-size and larger hail pummeled fields last Tuesday, June 3. As the storm system moved across eastern Nebraska into Iowa, hail continued to fall, even in areas of southwest Iowa where this type of battering from the sky is a rarity.
Fortunately, farmers had advance warning of the storm and were able to revise or buy hail insurance before it arrived. FCSAmerica crop insurance teams worked with producers through the weekend, ahead of the storm, to review coverage levels and get the much-needed protection in place.
By Wednesday afternoon, nearly half our hail insurance customers in parts of central and eastern Nebraska had reported their fields were hit. Our Red Oak and Harlan offices estimated that 25 percent of the farmers in their service area of southwest Iowa experienced the hailstorm. In northwest Iowa, pockets of producers reported hail.
With 42 offices strategically located across our four-state area, we can quickly dispatch specialized staff to assist as needed in those offices serving affected farmers, including the Norfolk, Columbus, Lincoln, Beatrice and Broken Bow offices in Nebraska and the Harlan and Red Oak offices in Iowa.
It will take a few more days to know the full extent of the storm’s damage – a frustrating wait for farmers watching which of their fields rebound and which are a partial or complete loss. Then come the tough decisions – press ahead with potentially reduced yields; replant (if the weather cooperates) and incur additional input costs, with corn likely giving way to a new crop of beans; or claim insurance and let fields lie fallow for the growing season.
Weather events like this reinforce the importance of crop insurance as a primary risk management tool for grain producers.