Storm Destroys Area Crops - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Storm Destroys Area Crops

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BELGRADE -

Gallatin County farmers could lose a combined $50 million thanks to Thursday night's storm. And that is just the wheat crop.    

Experts say many fields in the Gallatin Valley aren't harvestable anymore thanks to the wind, rain, and hail.

Most of the damage was in fields west of Bozeman.  That is where many fields don't have anything left.

Matt Flikkema, Vice President of Montana Grain Growers Association, said he spent Friday visiting farmers across the valley looking at the damage.

"I've never seen such total crop loss like we are standing in right now," said Flikkema. "There's nothing left of a crop that was one of the prettier pea crops in the valley."

He said it's hard to tell exactly how many fields were effected the storm.

"That is a hard number to put on," said Flikkema. "I think, you know, there's just a lot. We can just ride along the valley west and south of here and they are just all gone."

The fields north of Bozeman are a different story.

Bruce Wright farms land along Springhill Road and he said his crop damage isn't that significant.

"We have some slight crop damage up here, some 10 maybe 20 percent perhaps," said Wright.

The most damage at Wright's farm was an empty grain bin blew into the oat field. He was planning on using that bin around harvest time.

Flikkema said he doesn't think everyone took out crop insurance based on last year's numbers.

He said in 2012 in Gallatin County only 55 percent of the wheat that was grown was insured, only 46 percent of the barley and only 16 percent of the oats were insured.

Flikkema said no one took out insurance on peas last year.

Flikkema said it is too early to tell how the potatoes will do. They will be harvested around the end of September.

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