Storm did its work on crops

The May 20, 2024 hail storm obviously devastated all fields in its path.

One does not have to travel far from Yuma to witness winter wheat fields knocked down to the barest of cover, with no evidence it even was a wheat field except for the rows. One can go less than a mile from some of those fields to see wheat fields totally unscathed by the storm.

Dustin Koester of CHS High Plains has provided the Pioneer with an overarching report of the storm’s breadth.

He said from the reports he has heard from growers, the hail patch started about six miles southeast of Akron and continued east/northeast along the Highway 34 corridor, stretching to points all the way to the state line and east.

It appears the worst of the crop damage is from southeast of Otis and Hyde and the Yuma town area. Koester reported the wheat fields in that area are a complete loss, with damage tapering off off the further south and north one goes of Highway 34.

“I would say roughly a 4-5 mile path of pretty extensive damage to crops,” he said.

The corn crop was still to be determined late last week as some were just emerging to V2 stage. Koester reported earlier this week that CHS was starting to receive calls of some corn fields across the path of the storm that are needing replanted. There also were some sugar beet acres that were impacted, but it was not clear yet what insurance would allow farmers to do with these acres.

“We are also receiving a lot of calls about options on the acres of wheat that were hailed out,” Koester shared. “There is a lot of discussion around millet, corn, or milo on those acres depending on if the herbicide rotation allows them to be able to plant any of these crops back into the hailed out wheat.”

There also have been reports of irrigation pivots flipped over from the intense winds scattered along the storm’s path all the way into western Nebraska.

Farmers are encouraged to check their poly pivot tanks for cracks and damage, which assuredly most have already done.

Yuma received 2.2 inches of rain with the storm, according to the CoAgMet weather station located at the Irrigation Research Foundation north of Yuma. However, there were heavier amounts throughout the storm’s patch. For example, there were reports of five or more inches of rain in the Hyde area west of Yuma.

The heavy rain left areas of large lagoons in fields. The water also flowed from the southwest into the low-lying area west of Yuma bracketed by the overpass, the railroad tracks and County Road 39. It kept flowing through the middle of last week northeast, threatening a rural home’s outbuildings near the Road 39 and Road E intersection, and flowing over the west end of W. Apache Dr. in Yuma’s furthest northwest neighborhood. Flowing water also temporarily closed Road 39 right on the west side of Highway 34.

The water had receded and soaked into the ground by the end of last week.