WILLMAR -- Farm Service Agency officials estimate that 20,000 acres of crops were damaged by the hail and high winds that tracked across Renville County in Friday's storms.
Byron Hogberg, Farm Service Agency executive director in Renville County, said that worst of the damage was north of U.S. Highway 212, in an area south of Bird Island and in selected pockets south of Highway 212.
Along with the crop damage, many grain bins, machine sheds and hog barns were damaged, with some structures partially damaged and others completely blown down, he said.
Many grain bins, already emptied of their contents, were strewn up to two miles across fields, leaving a "path of metal," Hogberg said. The farmers will need to let the fields dry out before they can go in with tractors and wagons to pick up the large steel pieces.
The estimated crop loss could be 10 to 15 percent of the yield, he said. However, farmers will not know the impact for at least a few weeks and ultimately, will not know the full extent of the loss until the fields are harvested in the fall.
The crop damage stopped near the Kandiyohi County line, according to Hogberg and Kandiyohi County Farm Service Agency director Wes Nelson, who went south Tuesday to help with the crop damage assessments.
Nelson noted that the corn crop will likely be OK because the growing point of the plants was still well inside the plants. The bigger concern, he said, is the damage to the soybean plants that were sandblasted and damaged by the wind-blown soil.
The damage estimates, from Renville and other affected counties, will be forwarded to the state Farm Service Agency office, which will sendthe information on to Washington, D.C., for federal disaster consideration.