Hail damaged crops, bldgs

Published 11:10 am Friday, July 2, 2010

HARTLAND — The storms that have plagued Freeborn County in the past few weeks have been plaguing people��s crops as well as their homes and buildings.

Chris and Holly Dahl live about seven miles from Hartland and were affected by the severe thunderstorm on June 25. High winds, heavy rain and large amounts of hail destroyed crops near Hartland.

“Hail covered the ground,” Chris said. “I’ve never seen hail like that.”

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Holly said the hail looked like a white blanket over their yard. The next morning after the storm there were still some hailstones two to three inches deep next to their barn. Hail had collected next to the buildings and took quite awhile to melt.

Their family was not injured, but all of their buildings have hail damage and most of their crops are not salvageable. Chris estimates he lost all the soybeans he had planted and about one-third of the corn he planted.

“Corn can withstand a little more hail than beans,” Holly said.

Chris and Holly had agronomists come to their farm on Thursday to look over all their crops. Chris went with them to look at fields of his own and of his neighbors near Hartland. All the agronomists could tell them was to wait and see what grows.

“It’s too late to replant, so that’s not an option,” Chris said.

All of their soybeans are lost, and the fields where they were planted are almost completely brown. Some of the corn may still have a chance to survive.

“The spot where the ear will form has been bruised so we’re unsure if it will grow,” Holly said. “And if it does grow the stalk might not be strong enough to hold an ear.”

Insurance adjusters wait seven to 10 days before looking over crops that have been damaged. They will also visit in July to see how the crops are growing and before harvest in September. Holly said the adjusters will be able to help them decide whether the remaining crops will be worth harvesting or not. She said it’s been hard to think about what they’ve lost.

“This is our livelihood for the whole year,” Holly said.

Holly described the storm as being so loud she thought it had to have been a tornado. The day after the storm sticks and leaves blanketed the ground a few inches deep. Friends and family came to help them clean up the very next day.

“At that point we were feeling low,” Holly said.

As well as most of their crops being destroyed, most of their buildings were affected. Many seams broke on their steel roofing and siding. Shingles were missing, and a window was broken on their home.

Holly was glad they thought to put their horses in their barn before the storm started. Also, most of their equipment was inside sheds, so the most damage was to buildings and crops.

The corn in the fields near their house is broken, battered and bruised. It was previously almost shoulder-height and now stands withered. There’s not much the Dahl’s can do but wait to see what will and won’t grow this year, but they know they’re not the only ones who have lost crops to storms.

“It affected quite a few in the area,” Chris said.