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Planting one year after the derecho

Planting one year after the derecho

The damage to the 2020 crop was the worst Marty Danzer had ever seen on his farm

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

As U.S. farmers continue with the 2021 planting season, many producers are seeding crops one year after a devastating storm caused millions of dollars of damage in crop loss.

Marty Danzer, a Carroll, Iowa cash crop producer, for example, wrapped up soybean seeding over the weekend and finished planting corn a week before that.

It’s his farm’s first crop after a derecho affected communities in South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio in August 2020. In total the storm traveled about 770 miles in 14 hours.

The storm and its 100 mile-per-hour winds damaged about 10 million acres of crops in Iowa alone – Danzer’s among them.

“We didn’t lose any buildings, but we lost a lot of crop. There was corn that was so flat you couldn’t get underneath it with a corn head,” he told “There was probably 30 to 40 bushels per acre of corn on the ground. We had some cattle clean it up, but they couldn’t get all of it.”

Seeing the damage on his farm was hard, he said.

“It was frustrating,” he said. “Farming is labor-intensive, we invest in our operations, and then to see (the derecho) happen, it fatigues you.”

But as the 2021 planting season approached, Danzer prepared to do his very best to give his crops the best chance to succeed.

He planted about 550 acres of soybeans, around 600 acres of corn and used the proper varieties and hybrids for this farm’s conditions.

“For corn we usually plant anywhere from 106-day corn to 110-day corn and we’ve had pretty good success with that,” he said. “And for soybeans we usually plant anywhere from a 2.4 to a 2.9 variety. Over the years the earlier-maturity varieties used to have a little more yield drag.”

With his planting season finished, Danzer is hoping Mother Nature will be a little more cooperative than she was in 2020.

“We got the seeds in the ground and now we need the timely rains,” he said. “We’re off to a better start than last year but we’re a bit dry.”

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