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Harvesting derecho-damaged corn was a challenge

Central Iowa farmer Denny Friest says harvesting 500 acres of derecho-damaged corn was a big challenge.

“It was tremendously slow going,” Friest says. “We couldn’t use the catch cart. We had to dump at one end and go back empty, so it just took a lot of time.”

About twice as long as it normally would, Friest says. But he is pleased they were able to salvage as much of the crop as they did.

“We were able to pick up an amazing amount of the corn going against the way the corn was leaning. We ended up getting about a half a crop from what we really expected—115 to 125 on the worst fields.”

Friest says the quality of the downed corn was also a pleasant surprise.

“There weren’t any moldy kernels or bad kernels,” he says. “The test weight was a little bit low—one field got down to 53—but some of it was up around 56 and 57. That was amazing.

“There was quite a bit of corn around here that was zeroed out and destroyed too. We didn’t do that—we wanted to get it harvested. We did what we had to do. It wasn’t easy, but we did what we had to do.”

Friest says corn that wasn’t damaged by the storm is averaging around 220 bushels per acre.  He says soybean yields were in the 60’s.

Friest farms near Radcliffe, north of Ames.

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