Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
The widespread impact of last week’s derecho has many people wondering what to do next. For those producers affected, we have compiled perspectives of experts and farmers experiencing similar situations.
In the aftermath of the storm, it might be tempting to discard your cover crop plans, but now more than ever it will be important to retain N in your soils for future crops and suppress volunteer corn.

To investigate if aerial seeding would work in damaged corn, we went out with Tim Couser of Nevada, IA and Bill Frederick of Jefferson, IA to trial it out.

Let's chat: Options for derecho-damaged crops and cover crops
Join us for a call next Tuesday, August 25 at 7:30 a.m. CDT to learn more about options for managing derecho-damaged crops and prioritizing cover crops, and to share your concerns.

Speakers will include Mark Licht of ISU Extension, Susan Kozak of IDALS, Mark Gutierrez of USDA-RMA, Mike Henderson of NRCS and Tim Bardole of Iowa Soybean Association.

Join the Zoom meeting here at 7:30 a.m. or dial in:

Dial in: +1 312 626 6799
Meeting ID: 814 3588 9716
Passcode: 231687
Considerations for crop insurance
Mark Gutierrez, the deputy director of the regional USDA-RMA office provided some insight on navigating crop insurance options post-derecho.

The good news: some 95% of corn and soybean acres in Iowa are insured with multi-peril policies (which includes wind damage) with an average coverage policy of 80% of the calculated average of the last ten years of revenue on each certified land unit. Read on to learn some potential actionable steps.

File your claim: If you experienced damage to your standing crop, and have not already done so, you need to notify your insurance provider of damage. Your claim should be confirmed in writing within 15 days of the damage observation.

Advocate for yourself: If you want to salvage your snapped corn for feed, inform your insurance provider so you can be moved to the top of the list for adjustment inspections. While insurance providers are busy, they can take steps to prioritize inspections on corn that you want to harvest for feed as there is a narrow window for harvesting.

If you believe your crop can’t be mechanically harvested and want to prioritize planting of a forage crop or a cover crop soon, you might ask your insurance provider to view your damaged fields promptly.

Leaving intact areas an option: If you do want to remove damaged crops for livestock feed or to plant cover crops before the usual grain harvest window you can work with your adjuster to identify check strips for insurance.
A cereal rye cover crop can help suppress weeds and volunteer corn from damaged crops. Ready to invest in cover crops on your farm?

You could earn $1,600 or more to help off-set the costfill out the application now to see if you’re eligible.
Hellman’s wants to feed your crew as you pick-up and recover from the Iowa derecho
Hellman’s is partnering with Practical Farmers of Iowa to support local restaurants who will feed your clean up crew so you can get back to work faster.

It's easy to get fed, just email sarah@practicalfarmers.org if interested and we will figure out the logistics for you.
Today USDA updated their list of frequently-asked-questions for crops affected by the derecho.

The list details common crop insurance policy questions including whether or not you can harvest forage on affected fields.
Some producers will be filing insurance claims for the first time in their careers this year. The Center for Rural Affairs compiled a blog on things to consider with crop insurance and steps to take.
Severely lodged corn will likely lead to poor grain yield and difficulty harvesting. Harvesting corn silage can be an alternative. This blog by Iowa State provides tips on:

  • Capturing the right amount of moisture
  • Adjusting the silage chopper to avoid high nitrate levels
  • Monitoring aflatoxin levels
This article from Iowa State agronomists explains what sort of additional corn development you can expect from the different types of injuries observed after the derecho.
Look out for additional cover crop cost-share
IDALS and NRCS are looking to allocate additional resources for cover crop funding, given the current conditions.

Look for more information on additional resources in coming editions of the Practical Cover Cropper.
We’ve created a directory of businesses to help you meet your cover crop goals. On it, you can find custom applicators, seed suppliers, seed cleaners and more.

If you offer any cover-crop related services or cover crop seed, email jason@practicalfarmers.org so we can list your business on the directory.
This summer, Practical Farmers is hosting all of our field days online—making it easier for you to “attend” field days over a broader geography. Check out the full field day lineup here.
Hosted by: Practical Farmers of Iowa
August 25 | 7:30 a.m. | Online

Hosted by: Iowa Learning Farms
August 25 | 1 p.m. | Online
Hosted by: Erika Lundy & Iowa Learning Farms
August 26 | Noon | Online
Hosted by: Jared Oomen, The Land Connection & Practical Farmers of Iowa
September 11 | 12:30-1:10 p.m. | Online
Hosted by: Emily Krekelberg & Iowa Farm Bureau
September 14 | 1:00 p.m. | Online
Want to host a virtual cover crop happy hour? We’ll help you with the tech, and how to virtually invite your neighbors to the discussion. Contact Sarah if interested sarah@practicalfarmers.org
Are you planning or hosting a cover crop field day—virtual or in person? Send the details to rebecca@practicalfarmers.org, and we’ll include it in our next newsletter.
What sort of damage did you experience from the derecho?
My fields were unaffected
Some corn at an angle, nothing snapped
Some snapped corn
A lot of snapped corn
Want to expand further on this poll topic? Reply to this email and we may feature your thoughts in the next issue of "The Practical Cover Cropper."
Send us your cover crop poll ideas! We want to know what YOU want to know, reply to this email with your ideas for the next poll.
Previous poll results:
What's the soil moisture on your farm? (Asked 7/23/2020)
  • Too dry - 50%
  • Pretty dry - 20%
  • Just about right - 30%
  • Too wet - 0%
Sarah Carlson
Strategic Initiatives Director
(515) 232-5661
Chris Wilbeck
Independent Contractor
(515) 232-5661
Rebecca Clay
Strategic Initiatives Agronomy Coordinator
(515) 232-5661
We are thinking of all the farmers across Iowa who suffered damage from the derecho
Please don’t hesitate to contact us at PFI if we can help you in any way or connect you to any resources. Email sarah@practicalfarmers.org or rebecca@practicalfarmers.org