Idalia’s Aftermath: Hurricane creates havoc for some producers, spares others across the Southeast

A week after Hurricane Idalia tore across Florida and parts of the Southern-Atlantic Coast, we are learning more about how agricultural operations in its path were impacted by the storm, which reached a Category Three-level hurricane at its peak.

A week after Hurricane Idalia tore across Florida and parts of the Southern-Atlantic Coast, we are learning more about how agricultural operations in its path were impacted by the storm, which reached a Category Three-level hurricane at its peak.

USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey said, other than extreme winds, he is not expecting any major damage to the citrus crop in the region. At the most, he said, Western Florida farmers are seeing branches broken and a few lost fruits.

However, it is a different story across areas of Northcentral Florida and Southeastern Georgia.

“There are some reports of damage to crops including cotton and to a lesser degree peanuts,” Rippey said. “Also, to the pecan crop. We have a lot of pecan trees in that area. We did see some damage to those trees and nuts as well.”

Another glimmer of good news, experts said, was the beneficial rainfall from the storm received in parts of Georgia and the Carolinas where extreme temperatures and drought had been an ongoing concern.

This video is from the storm’s aftermath. Trevor Smith from Coffee County, Georgia, tweeted out what he called “hurricane corn.” Smith said, thankfully, he cannot really tell if there was any yield drop off after the storm compared to what he was picking before — he estimated the loss at five to 10 bushels max.

Chickens in the Sunshine State were not as fortunate. In Live Oak, Florida, five million chickens died from the storm. Coops were shredded to pieces by the storm’s high winds and many birds were killed by high waters or falling trees. Many chickens that survived the storm ended up dying from lack of feed and sweltering heat.

Other producers in the area reported barns and fence lines that were also destroyed in the storm.

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