Assessment on the damage left behind by tropical storm Harvey on Saturday is underway and for one businessman, he has summed up his losses to close to a million dollars. John Carr, pioneer of Banana Bank Lodge says the unexpected force winds that lashed his corn fields over the weekend, flattened major plots of his mature crops. News Five’s Andrea Polanco and John Carr trekked into the fields at Banana Bank today.
Andrea Polanco, Reporting
Acres of corn fields lay flat on the ground, battered by the winds of Tropical Storm Harvey on Saturday evening. When the storm made its passage through Banana Bank it destroyed hundreds of acres of corn, owned by businessman, John Carr.
John Carr, Businessman & Lost Crop to TS Harvey
“We’ve been farming some fifteen hundred acres of corn for some time and we try to average around fifty bags an acre—that’s a good yield for us—the weather’s been good. We expected a little better this year because the weather has been good for us. That harvest was gonna happen between mostly the fifth of October to the twenty-fifth of October. Takes a hundred and twenty days or four months from planting to harvest. I would think that we lost maybe about five hundred acres—that’s about ninety percent loss maybe and I think another five hundred acres that had a forty percent loss and maybe we had about thirty percent that didn’t have much damage. But we lost more than half of our acreage—real severe damage.”
The storm wiped out corn fields only sixty to seventy days old, which needed an additional two months before harvesting. That loss has set Carr back almost a million dollars, but Carr says he hopes he can break even with the remaining corn.
“If we had say six hundred acres that we hardly harvest, we were projected that corn to make like fifteen hundred dollars gross an acre. So six times fifteen, that’s nine hundred thousand dollars that we don’t expect to harvest this year. And maybe sixty percent of that would have been expenses so we would have had a decent profit this year because we were anticipating for the good corn prices. I think that maybe this will be a year that we sometimes like the rat in the trap—forget about the cheese; just let me out of the trap. That means if we break even the way we are right now, we’d be pretty happy. We’re not looking to make profit this year; we just want to minimize our losses.”
Salvaging the damaged crops is very unlikely, but this businessman remains hopeful.
“Well we’re looking at everyday if our conversation is every hour and we’re hoping that this piece of corn that I have right here in my hand is called a gooseneck. And you see how it kinda goes like a gooseneck and this corn was laying on the ground flat like this and then it stood up like this and this is the ear. I don’t have a lot of hope that it is going to bring much as far as a total field. This particular one might work, but the plants per acre of this type are going to be fifty or twenty percent of what we would have anticipated in the beginning, so I don’t think it’s gonna work much. We’ll just have to wait for the dry weather. We have to wait and then we will just disc the residue in; there isn’t much to salvage, however we’re going to wait until a normal time passes and we’ll just see that some miracle might happen—that harvest will be bigger than we anticipated. By just looking at the lost situation right now, who knows maybe something good will happen.”
Carr, who has lived at Banana Bank since the nineteen eighties, says this is the first time that a storm has done this much damage:
“Really it is in about twenty five years of our farming here, this is the first time that we have suffered any damage here. It is unusual to have a storm like this in August.”
Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.
Carr said that the Ministry of Agriculture visited his plots of corn on Monday; but any help will only be forthcoming after various layers of evaluations are completed.