Thousands of Acres of Crops Destroyed by Hail Storm

July 20, 2020

MINNEAPOLIS — Agricultural experts have been tallying the crop damage caused by last weekend’s storm that packed 50 mph winds and baseball-sized hail in parts of Minnesota.

The storm was a blow for farmers from Kandiyohi County to Nicollet County at a time when commodity prices are already down.

“We had a wonderful crop. Best we’ve had in this area in five years,” said Curt Burns, farmer and crop consultant, tells WCCO-TV.

The hail storm was up to 60 miles long and six miles wide and caused extensive damage.

“This affected thousands of acres of corn, soy beans, kidney beans, sugar beets, peas, sweet corn, and alfalfa,” said Burns, all adding up to millions in losses.

“For this time of year, this is really significant,” said Seth Naeve, a soybean agronomist for U of M Extension.

Naeve said farmers in Renville, McLeod and Sibley Counties were hit especially hard.

While soybeans may re-grow, they won’t come close to the yield for which they were on pace, Naeve said.

“These farmers that are affected are affected individually. We really have to consider the impact on individual farmers rather than the collective whole,” said Naeve

The line of severe storms that swept across Minnesota late Friday into early Saturday also brought damaging winds that knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses.

Minnesota Public Radio reports winds were estimated at up to 80 mph at times on Friday evening as the storms barreled across northern Minnesota, where several thousand homes and businesses lost power.

Xcel Energy reported more than 20,000 customers without power early Saturday in its Minnesota service area _ with most of those outages in the Twin Cities, where the National Weather Service reported wind gusts of close to 60 mph. That number had dropped to less than 12,000 as of 6:40 a.m. as crews worked to repair the downed lines.

The storms also brought some hail and torrential rain, with street flooding reported overnight in Brainerd. Strong winds also destroyed football field bleachers and damaged grain bins in Argyle.

In the wake of the storms, a dangerously hot, humid day is in the forecast for much of Minnesota for Saturday.

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