Hail Damage Help Sought by Hundreds of Farmers - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Hail Damage Help Sought by Hundreds of Farmers

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Hamilton County, NE - It's been one week since a storm that some farmers say caused the worst crop damage in decades.

That damage reaches as far north as Valentine and in many areas east of Grand Island.

But, seven days later, farmers are still looking for answers on how to move forward.

Nearly 200 of them attended two informational meetings put on by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension near Bradshaw and Marquette Monday.

Curt and Cale Carlson showed off their damage at one session.

"In my 40 years of farming I’ve never had this early of a hail storm and this devastating for all of our acres," said Curt.

Hamilton County UNL Extension Educator Todd Whitney said the impact is far reaching.

“We have, in some cases, good hope that we'll have recovery," he said.

The big question for many farmers is: should we replant? The answers vary.

"Unfortunately in a lot of instances out here, because of the herbicide choices they may have to come back with corn or sorghum,” said Lowell Sandell, UNL Weed Science Extension educator.

But, educators said farmers could take a 40 percent hit in yield if they plant corn now.

"Even the early season corn may be stressed a little bit on whether they'll reach physiological maturity by the time we get that first fall freeze," said Whitney.

Experts said this colder, wet weather isn't helping with crop recovery. In some cases, it’s causing soft rot.

As decisions loom, the Carlsons are still waiting on their insurance adjuster to get the full extent of the damage.

"There's such a backup," said Curt.

He said their entire soybean crop will likely be replanted, but they could be relying on insurance in other fields.

"We would rather have a crop but in this situation we don't have a choice, so the insurance will play a big part in helping us continue to be farmers," said Curt.

Educators said it will still be a while before we know the full extent of the damage or if it will impact you at the grocery store.

They urge producers who didn’t attend meetings Monday to go to their website.
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