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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

ISU Agronomist Brain Lange from NE Iowa reports the storm Monday morning apparently had straight line winds of up to 120 mph in a swath of 20 miles or so wide and traveled from south of Ames up through Tama, Benton, Linn, and Jones counties and into Dubuque county. There is likely over 100,000 acres of corn that is flattened, in addition to thousands of trees snapped off, grain bins blown
over, and farm buildings destroyed.  The good news is it looks like the vast majority of the corn is flat because of root lodging and not green snap. Most of the corn is in the V14-V18 stage now, and not subject to green snap. The heavy downpours that occurred at the same time may have also helped by saturating the topsoil and allowing roots to shift rather than breaking stalks.

With root lodging the yield prospects the prospects are for less than 20% yield loss even with 100% root lodging. The stalks will straighten back out (or at least the upper stalk will straighten), so hopefully there will not be a large affect on pollination. It will be a real challenge at harvest time, but at least it looks like there will be corn to harvest. A study done in Wisconsin showed yield losses of about 10-20% when corn was totally flattened at V14-V18, where most of the affected corn is now.

There is also a lot of seedcorn affected in the storm damage area. In general, the lodging is not as extensive in the seed fields, because the corn is shorter, but unfortunately there are many seed fields where the lodging is great enough so that it is difficult to impossible to walk through the fields.  This means they cannot be detasseled, so they are a total loss. Many seed fields may be disked up.

What does this mean for producers? Higher seed prices next year is the logical answer.

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