Early reports from areas of Kansas hit by severe thunderstorms Thursday night are indicating crop damage is less than might be expected from the severity of the weather.
The worst storms hit northeast Kansas in Saline and Dickinson County, with early reports of hail up to tennis-ball size. A second line of storms moved across north central Kansas right along the Nebraska border with the heaviest storms in Republic county near Belleville.
But damage assessments on Friday morning indicate that losses were not widespread.
"I think we were lucky in that it was pretty scattered and streaky," said Scott Blochlinger, manager of the Associated Producers Inc. grain elevator in Gypsum. "It hailed for a pretty solid 20 minutes, but it was raining so hard that I think a lot of it melted."
Blochlinger said he drove around the area Friday morning and saw only patchy damage.
"I think we had some heads of wheat stripped and maybe some flag leaf damage, but it wa]\not extensive. From what I was hearing on the radio last night, I expected to see mhole fields flattened and I didn't see that," he said. u
Mike Losik, with Farm Bureau Financial Services in Saline County said he had a few claims turned in but the volume of calls has not be indicative of heavy losses. He said he knew of about a half dozen losses that had been turned in the Herington area.
Todd Whitney, Kansas State University ag agent in Concordia, said he was more concerned about the forecast for freezing temperatures than about damage from the hail.
"We also had some really rough winds that did pretty widespread damage," he said. "There were a lot of tree limbs down and electricity off. We had some alfalfa fields that had damage and wheat fields that were hit. For a given farmer in an isolated region, it was devastating. But as a percentage of the crop overall, I think it was limited."
Whitney said he would estimate that about half of the farmers in the region had hail insurance on their wheat crop.