Hurricane Laura largely missed the US grains sector after making landfall, but some animals may be at risk.

Reuters reports that the US agriculture sector did not receive a direct hit from Hurricane Laura on 27 August as the storm turned west of grain export terminals in New Orleans and missed many fields of unharvested cotton and sugar.

The storm’s rains, however, are also expected to miss many of the driest areas of the US soybean and corn belt in the Midwest. Rains are desperately needed in that region, especially for key grain-producing states like Iowa and Nebraska.

Laura made landfall early on Thursday 27 August as a Category 4 storm packing winds of 150 mph in the small town of Cameron, Louisiana, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. It rapidly weakened to a Category 1 storm and then a tropical storm by afternoon.

Government and agriculture officials are assessing any damage.

The Louisiana Farm Bureau Communications Director Avery Davidson said “our concern now is what the storm is going to do in the northern part of the state. There are lots of poultry houses around Natchitoches and Ruston … and we don’t know what power outages are going to do to the farmers’ ability to cool and water their birds.”

Crop damage may be limited in the Delta as the storm stayed west of major growing areas, but wind gusts reaching as high as 70 mph likely flattened some corn fields, meteorologist David Streit of Commodity Weather Group said.

The rains could also slow the harvest over the next two weeks in Mississippi and Louisiana.
“It is not really heavy enough rains from this one to lead to flooding damage,” he said. “They got really lucky.”

Laura is expected to veer east across Arkansas and Mississippi. Rains from the powerful storm are forecast to spread well inland, although they are not likely to reach the driest areas of the Midwest.

“It is going to miss the areas that need it,” said Don Keeney, senior agricultural meteorologist for weather forecaster Maxar.

Crops in places like Iowa, Illinois and Indiana have shrivelled due to hot and dry weather during August. The heatwave, which hit as soybeans were progressing through their critical pod filling phase of development, has lowered forecasts for what was expected to be a record corn crop.

Export shippers were also spared a direct hit from Laura.

The US Coast Guard on Thursday morning lifted shipping and navigation restrictions in the zone around the Port of New Orleans, but cautioned mariners of potentially hazardous conditions on the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

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Source: The Cattle Site