As with any intense storm, Sunday’s event had impacts on farmers. While it could take some time to know the full extent of the impacts to agriculture, initial reports Monday did not show …
As with any intense storm, Sunday’s event had impacts on farmers. While it could take some time to know the full extent of the impacts to agriculture, initial reports Monday did not show widespread or catastrophic damages to crops.
Fred Hopkin, who grows barley out in Penrose, saw the storm coming in with clouds that had the telltale signs of hail. Fortunately, it turned out to be mostly just a lot of rain — about three-quarters of an inch in 15 minutes in that area southeast of town.
“It’s not the kind of rain you want,” Hopkin said.
Jeremiah Vardiman, a Powell-based educator for University of Wyoming Extension, said a heavy hailstorm this time of year can cause lodging in barley fields. The hail presses the crop down and can damage the stem, which prevents nutrients from getting to the head. It can also knock off kernels from the head.
Hopkin said he had some lodging, but it wasn’t too extensive.
The storm was isolated enough to contain the damage to a narrow corridor. Ric Rodriguez, who farms out near Heart Mountain, said they didn’t have any damage from the event.
Darla Rhodes, executive director of the Park County Farm Service Agency, said she’d had a few people in her office on Monday morning to file claims. Rhodes said it’s too soon to know if the crops will recover.
“It’s a waiting game,” she said.
Vardiman said the hail can impact leaves of other crops. In beans, it can cause halo blight, a bacterial disease. The saturation from the heavy rain can also cause problems in crops.
Even if hail and flooding don’t completely decimate a crop, they can set crops back. On Monday morning, Vardiman said he hadn’t received any inquiries from farmers about crop damage, but some fields had visible damage.