Extreme weather has once again caused crop damage to different farms and communities across this nation. In late March, freezing temperatures caused crop damage to wheat that had already been hurt by the drought—the worst drought since the 1930s. The freezing weather that Oklahoma recently experienced may have hurt wheat tillers, which are the stems that produce grain.
Since Oklahoma is the second largest grower of hard-red winter wheat—wheat that is used to make bread—Oklahoma farmers may suffer losses due to the freeze. As temperatures dropped to 15 degrees Fahrenheit in the Oklahoma panhandle, the crops were susceptible to damage because there was little to no snow cover to protect the plants from freezing weather. Although the damage isn’t fully known yet, experts believe that some crop damage did occur and that almost 24 percent of crops in the Great Plains may be unharvested this year because of the extreme weather.
A few days later in Northern California, a hailstorm battered crops in Winters at the beginning of April. Unfortunately, heavy, large hail shredded some crops in the area. Farmer Paul Underhill showed CBS some of the crop damage he sustained during the devastating hailstorm.
Branches were broken off, plants were snapped, and some crops suffered beatings that could kill them later on. His tomato, spinach, salad greens, and radish crops all took a pounding. Underhill estimates that he has about $30,000 in crop damages from weather events this year.
Unfortunately, hail, freezing temperatures, and other extreme weather events cause billions in damages each year to crops in this nation leaving farmers to file agricultural insurance claims to recoup their losses.