Wednesday, September 24, 2014
   
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Hammered Northern area crops whacked by hail, wind

altGothenburg area farmer Josh Cool spent most of a sweltering Monday salvaging corn that was scattered on the ground after high winds, or a twister, smashed a round hay bale into a bin.

Cool, who farms in the northern hills, also lost about a third of his corn and soybeans to hail and wind during a storm that struck the area Thursday night, said his wife, Helen Cool.

As storm clouds formed, many local residents and area farmers hoped for rain.

And plentiful rains did come, at least north of Gothenburg where an inch to two inches of precipitation were recorded.

But about two inches of hail also littered the area in places, according to farmer and rancher Dave Loostrom.

Wind and hail damage to crops was reported in an area up to four miles wide, starting just south of the Custer County line and north, according to Dan Tinlin, manager of The Home Agency insurance company.

Tinlin said damage to corn and soybeans was moderate to severe. Monetary loss will be better known after Thursday.

“When you look at clients whose corn was insured, most are adequately insured,” he said. “Even if it’s a total loss, they should survive.”

altCozad farmer Rod Carlson, who owns the bin that was destroyed, said the structure held between 4,000 to 5,000 bushels of Cool’s field corn.

Helen said the bale was lifted over a barbed-wire fence before striking the bin.

“It’s anyone’s guess what happened,” Carlson said.

The bin is about 18 miles north, northwest of Gothenburg. Two augers next to the bin were also badly damaged.

Helen said the couple has insurance on their crops but “you never want to not harvest a crop.”

Tinlin said the timing of the storm wasn’t the greatest as corn has started to silk, which is one of the most critical periods in the development of corn plants in terms of yield.

In addition to hail, Tinlin said the continuing drought is wreaking havoc on corn and cattle prices and more.

“And there’s nothing you can do about it,” he said. “Mother Nature is playing tricks.”

Josh rents the land he farms from Helen’s uncle and aunt who are Dave and Linda Loostrom.

The Loostroms’ home was damaged by lightning during a storm that struck July 4.

Part of the kitchen was damaged and some appliances destroyed.

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