Hail Causes $5.5 Million Loss in Saline County

Four hail storms over seven days wiped out more than a million bushels of crops across nearly 75-thousand acres.  Damage estimates for other southeastern Nebraska counties are still coming in.

Corn damaged by hail between Swanton and DeWitt in southern Saline County. Photo courtesy Saline County Emergency Management.

Farmers in Saline County are counting the cost of recent hail storms, and the numbers are big.

A report to the Saline County Board of Commissioners summarized the damage. Total monetary loss from crop damage is estimated at more than $5.5 million.

Saline County Emergency Manager B.J. Fictum says parts of the county were hit by hail five times over seven days. The hail ranged from pea to quarter to half-dollar size.

According to the report, the local USDA survey committee estimates that the hail affected nearly 75 thousand acres in the county. It's estimated that 10-15% of the crops in Saline County were affected, causing the loss of more than a million bushels of corn, wheat, soybeans, and sorghum.

Fictum said the first hail hit near DeWitt and Wilber on Monday, June 1. More hail fell during severe storms over the weekend. Fictum said the southern part of the county near DeWitt was hardest hit.

“This is the first time since I started with emergency management in 1992 that Saline County has experienced four hail-related severe weather incidents in a seven-day period, let alone three of those in less than 36 hours," Fictum said.

“It was surprising to see the amount of agricultural damage only to find out that Saline County’s $5.5 million doesn’t even qualify for USDA disaster aid because it has not reached the threshold.”

Homes and buildings were damaged by hail southeast of Lincoln in Adams. Extensive crop damage was reported nearby, extending east toward Sterling in Johnson County.

Watch 10/11 News at Ten to see how farmers are dealing with the extensive damage.

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