Harvest in Jefferson County is completed for another year, with yields taking a hit in certain areas from late summer hail and rainstorms.

At Wilbur-Ellis, branch manager Al Short said, “The storm had its effect on a number of acres and crops, which had an impact for growers in the area. It’s unusual to have two big storms 10 days apart.”

“Of the radish and alfalfa seed crops we had in the path of the storm, we ended up with a 50 percent or greater loss. They were outstanding fields before the storm,” Short said.

He said Wilbur-Ellis’ carrot seed fields are located in the Prineville area and were not affected, while their grass seed and cereal grain crops were all harvested before the big hailstorm hit Aug. 25.

At Helena Chemical Co. in Culver, manager Britt Spaulding noted the Culver area was not hit nearly as bad as Madras’ Agency Plains crops.

“We had some newly planted fields that were damaged due to running water (during the rainstorms). At harvest, 25 percent of the acres were affected in general in Culver. There was significant damage to some fields, while many fields were not affected at all,” Spaulding said, noting it was highly variable.

Helena Chemical Co. (formerly Round Butte Seed) processes carrot, onion, radish, grass, grain and pea seed.

Carrot seed was the main crop affected at Central Oregon Seeds Inc.

Partner-manager Mike Weber reported, “We had two hailstorms, then rain showers and wind in early October, and are only halfway done with the cleaning of all the fields.”

He said the carrot seed was harvested, but then had to be dried and cleaned of weed seed before it could be bagged.

“During harvest in September and October, every fourth or fifth day we would have a shower, which gave the seed 10-11 percent moisture, and we would have to dry it to 8 percent moisture,” he said. In a normal year, the seed comes off the field dry and ready to process.

“We are estimating that north of Madras, our fields had an average 40-50 percent loss,” he said, noting that average included some fields with 90 percent and some with 20 percent damage.

“South of town, there was no hail, just strong wind and rain, and there we averaged a 25 percent loss,” he said.

COSI also reported one onion field with a 60 percent loss, and one parsley field with an 80 percent loss.

“People I’ve talked to have never seen anything this devastating,” Weber said of the storms.

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