Vermeer – a US company best known in farming circles for its hay and forage machinery – was hit by a major tornado that destroyed several buildings at its manufacturing facility.

The company’s headquarters, on the outskirts of Pella, Iowa (US), were hit by an EF-3 tornado on Thursday. EF stands for Enhanced Fujita – the scale used to measure the intensity of a tornado.

Seven employees were treated for minor injuries; others were seen by emergency medical responders at the scene.

No one was seriously injured or killed.

According to Des Moines Register, the storm was “one of at least a dozen twisters that touched down in central Iowa that day”.

The company employs 2,700 people. Staff returned to work yesterday.

“I am happy to report our first piece of equipment has rolled off the production line already this morning,” company spokeswoman Liz Sporrer said yesterday, when speaking to local press outlets.

Vermeer CEO Jason Andringa confirmed that several buildings suffered “structural damage”. Officials reportedly started to assess the most badly damaged buildings on Friday.

Lely’s North American production facility is located on the north-east section of the Vermeer campus; it escaped major damage.

Self-propelled round baler

In other Vermeer news, the firm’s self-propelled round baler broke cover last year; the so-called ZR5 got its first public outing at Husker Harvest Days in the US.

According to the manufacturer, the ZR5 promises to make “quick work of any field”, while supposedly “offering unprecedented ride quality and maneuverability”.

Image source: Farm Industry News

At the time of its launch last year, Josh Vrieze, Vermeer’s product manager, said that the VR5’s “patent-pending suspension technology allows operators to better handle the bumps and jostling that naturally comes with baling”.


Image source: Farm Industry News

With a nod to the lawn-care industry, Vermeer has applied ‘zero-radius turning’ technology to this machine’s steering system. This feature, says Vermeer, allows better maneuverability than a conventional tractor-baler combination.

The company also makes a whole plethora of other farm equipment, including tractor-drawn balers, wrappers, rakes, tedders and mowers.

Its dossier of construction and utility equipment is also extensive – ranging from tree chippers to pile-drivers.