BEAVER TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Crop damage from severe thunderstorms that dropped hail on parts of Michigan has prompted concern that some harvests will suffer this year, farmers and officials said. Bay County farmer Lee Koch told The Bay City Times (http://bit.ly/1tW3YYc ) that he won't know the effects of damage on his 1,200 acres of land until the fall. High winds, rain and hail hit parts of the Lower Peninsula on Sunday, including Bay County, where corn and soybean plants were torn up by golf-ball-sized hail.
"Never in my 30 years of farming have I seen hail like this," said Koch, who owns property in the Bay County communities of Auburn, Williams Township and Beaver Township as well as Midland County's Larkin Township. "There's no Band-Aids for what has happened. What's done is done." The hail left his pickup truck with a cracked windshield and dents, he said, and sliced open the leaves on his corn and cut stems off his soybean plants. "Some of it may grow back, but we're not going to know what happened until the fall," Koch said.
Jeff Schulz, a certified crop adviser with Auburn Bean and Grain, said his team was busy Monday assessing crop damage following the storms. "We know there is significant damage to crops, including corn, soybeans, sugar beets and dry beans," Schulz said. "We've got several crop advisers helping customers through a difficult time checking fields and are doing whatever we can to make the best out of a bad situation."
Gary Sylvester, manager at Auburn Fertilizer, said there was notable damage in part of in Auburn and Beaver Township. "It's the worst hail damage I've seen in some time," Sylvester said. "It's not a total loss, but if the hail hits a flower, that's going to result in a loss of yield. If it rips the silk off the corn cob, it's not going to pollinate and that will result in a loss in yield."