This barn, like many structures in the path of the August 10 derecho, sustained serious damage. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)
Additional post-derecho resources
August 24, 2020
Damage & Relief Updates
ISA Director of Agronomy Scott Nelson says:
First things first, farmers must check with their insurance adjuster before they plan any tillage or other fieldwork, as policies may vary.
University studies indicate one volunteer corn plant per 10 square feet will reduce soybean yield by about 10%. So the risk of volunteer corn on next years soybean crop is real. Presence of volunteer corn is also a host for corn rootworm reducing the effectiveness of rotation for suppressing corn rootworm.
However, a single disking won’t eliminate all the volunteer. They will have to follow with a disc-ripper for a two pass program. This amount of tillage will have consequences on long term soil health as organic matter will be oxidized enough that it may reduce several years’ worth of organic matter build up. This is also a costly solution, anywhere from $35-$75 per acre depending upon what they do.
Just as an example, say a farmer loses 100 bushels per acre of corn seed on the ground. This is more than 3X his normal corn seeding rate. If the farmer uses tillage, then say the amount of corn seed is reduced to 30 bushels per acre. This is a normal seeding rate for corn. So the problem is enormous but tillage is not a quick fix.
There are herbicides that control volunteer corn, but farmers with extreme cases of down corn will likely need two passes. This is more expensive, but probably less costly than tillage passes, especially since the volunteer corn herbicides are offered as inexpensive generics. Even under heavy tillage, farmers will likely need to apply volunteer corn herbicides anyway.
My recommendation is for farmers to not change their tillage practices, but plan on two passes of a herbicide that controls volunteer corn next year.
Farmers in the News
ISA has connected multiple farmers with the media to help tell their stories.
Stress Management & Mental Health
You can’t avoid farm stress, but you can manage it. Whether you need help managing stress or you know someone else who needs support, we've collected resources here to help you find the information or professional you need.
- Need someone to talk to about financial, legal, family or other stress? Know someone who might? The 24/7 Iowa Concern Hotline (1-800-447-1985) is free of charge and confidential. It was created in the 1980s to help producers through the farm crisis but now offers a wide range of services, including language interpretation. Dial 711 for TTY/TDD.
- Email an Expert - Send your questions related to legal issues, finances, stress and crisis or disaster to our staff.
- Live Chat - One-on-one, secure communication through typed text with a stress counselor.
- News Release - Call Iowa Concern for Help Coping with the Stress of COVID-19 | Audio PSA | Video PSA
- "It’s just like an illness," says Minnesota soybean farmer Bob Worth. "Like the flu or anything else. There are tools out there to help. The main thing is you have to talk about it; otherwise, things will escalate. There's no shame in getting the help you need." Read more about Bob's experience.
- "How should we respond, not only to our own stress, but to the stress being felt by those around us?" asks South Dakota soybean farmer Brandon Wipf. "How can we be anchors for our communities in these tough times, even as we ourselves are badly impacted by what is happening? Here are some tips that work for me." Read more about Brandon's experience.
- "It has been over three years since the day that Keith died by his own hand," says says Minnesota soybean farmer Theresia Gillie. "The day he died by suicide. So many people want my farm to succeed even though Keith is gone; I have gotten and continue to feel love from near and far every day. I would like to share what it has been like for me these three years and how I am doing now." Learn more about Theresia's experience.
- Iowa Farm Bureau put together a 3-part Spokesman Speaks podcast series on managing farm stress in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, featuring Dr. Larry Tranel (a pastoral psychologist who has spent more than 30 years working with farm families). Part 1: Identifying unhealthy stress and how to manage it; Part 2: Making effective business decisions and communicating, despite stress; and Part 3: Managing stress as a family.
- Jason Medows didn’t set out to be a podcaster. He just liked to listen to them. A pharmacist and a farmer, he took a special interest when his favorite agricultural podcasts discussed mental health, but those episodes were few and far between. So, he decided he would try recording his own podcast. It turns out, there were plenty of people that wanted to listen. “I’ve been surprised by the interest. Every time I talk to someone, they refer me to two more people to talk to.” The Ag State of Mind is focused on combating the mental health crisis in agriculture delving into hard to talk about topics such as depression, anxiety, and suicide. Learn more & listen here.
Additional Reading & Resources
Know of a resource that should be on this list? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org so your fellow farmers and rural Iowans can benefit from it.