Hail Damage Update

Can also see area impacted by wildfires earlier this year in Cambridge area.

Well, the June 14th hailstorm was something we hope to never again experience. The National Weather Service in Hastings shared a video of satellite imagery showing lack of vegetation that is incredibly insightful:  https://twitter.com/NWSHastings/status/1538243511396360192. Feel for all who had damage to homes, animals, crops, buildings, bins, pivots, trees, gardens. For landscape info, check out the following from Backyard Farmer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIeA731LQg8&t=1s. Last week’s crop hailstorm webinar recording is at: https://go.unl.edu/pe9q.

I had hoped to get a blog post out much sooner. Thank you to all who called and I truly hope something from these field visits and calls has helped. I realize a lot of replant is currently occurring and grateful for the weather for that. While replanting stinks, perhaps it’s providing a small bit of healing for the eternal optimists that so many of us in ag are? Several asked how people are destroying the old corn crop. Depending on tillage system, they have used shredding, root slicers, tillage all followed by residue removers during planting (because I’m seeing tillers growing from old stumps). Others plan to plant between the rows and then cultivate the old row out. Can chemically terminate with gramoxone. Some are using clethodim if going to soybean.

Time right now is critical with replant decision making. Some thoughts for those who need to wait for crop insurance adjusters and fields to dry:

  • Start upright pivots, check control boxes, sprinklers, plastic lines to endguns, etc. Availability of parts may influence corn seeding rates. Document all damages for insurance.
  • For potential replant situations where you don’t wish to plant corn due to loss of bins or inability to dry corn, depending on what you’re interested in, consider hand planting some soybean, milo, or cover crop seed into your corn fields at different depths. This will provide an idea of survival depending on corn herbicide used. Ultimately, make a plan A and B for your situation.

Corn: Hail damage recovery has varied. From June 7th storm, there was unevenness in plants that recovered. Saw bacterial top rot setting into plants even in several V3-V4 damaged fields. Plants may look better from the road but inside the field tells the story. June 14th storms: plants are severely bruised. Seeing hail stones causing deep bruising and rot both above and below the growing point. Often plants snap when barely touched. Fields less impacted are gaining new growth and will look better next week. Keep watching the fields with small plants that were pummeled into the ground and seed fields. My blog at jenreesources.com has recovery photos and a chart to help with replant decisions and potential yield due to reduced stands. Area Pioneer agronomists also made a video suggesting for every 1000 ‘healthier’ plants, can consider 10 bu/ac …so 15,000 plants could result in around 150 bu/ac: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viOwFqi3FDU.

Soybean: Normally, soybean is so resilient with all the growing points. The xylem and phloem in beans are on the outside of the stem, so the hail pummeling the stems and tops impacted that transport and many plants just turned white/gray and died. For replanting beans, would recommend using a fungicide seed treatment; have seen phytophthora root rot in replant beans in the past. You don’t need other seed treatments. Seeding rates: If have surviving plants, can slot some in at a reduced rate between rows or angle depending on row spacing. If you don’t, go with original rate or increase 10%. Regarding maturity, we at several universities say to use Group 2’s at this date. Indeterminate beans continue to produce nodes, leaves, flowers till R5 regardless of maturity group and beans are daylength sensitive.

I truly wish everyone the best with decisions. This amount of loss takes a huge toll whether or not we are honest in admitting that to ourselves. I hear and sense the stress with each conversation. Each situation is unique in damages received, crop insurance taken, amount of grain forward contracted, and other life things occurring. Some are walking outside to devastation each day. Some had multiple events occur this year. You may be in crisis mode right now just trying to patch things up and get new crops planted. I don’t know what is helpful for you. What I know for me is that my faith in God, my belief that He is in control, and His continued faithfulness to me is what has sustained me. Tears can be healing. Just would encourage you to also find a healthy way to take care of yourself such as talking to a trusted friend, prayer, journaling, exercise, or participating in a hobby. This is a great resource on taking time to listen and talk: https://go.unl.edu/3daw.

*End of column for newspapers.


Photo credit: YouVersion Bible App

This chart shows the relative corn yield potential compared to the original stand if the stand is reduced based on planting date. It provides an idea anyway assuming no additional storms or other issues.
This chart is a soybean replant decision aid. It shows soybean can greatly compensate for reduced populations but one also needs to consider weed control and gaps.
These types of fields are fairly common and each was a field by field assessment regarding replant all, a portion, or leave.
Some plants are showing regrowth but sometimes also seeing discoloration in the whorl. Splitting open the plant, can see bacterial top rot moving towards the growing point which will kill this plant. Also notice the bruising from hailstones.
This is a from a V10-V11 field that from the road and walking into it looks green with new regrowth and looks like there’s 25-27K plants. However, the stems were absolutely pummeled. Every stem slit open had very deep bruising like this that’s allowing bacterial stalk rot to set in.

Different soybean fields. I keep failing to take pictures of soybeans. Mostly the fields look like the first pic and are clear-cut that they had too much stem damage and are dead. Or, they are obtaining new growth and look much better. Some are just super slow to get much growth, though, and for those fields, some growers are slotting some in from the standpoint of weed control. Those with lighter damage are seeing rapid new growth where petioles meet the stems (taller pic).

Showing these charts below again if helpful. We’d recommend 100 day or less maturities at this point.

York Ne Data
Avg. 28F frost Oct. 21
Relative Maturity80859095100105110
Planting DateGDD to R61917203821592280240125212642
June 15Sept. 5Sept. 11Sept. 19Sept. 28Oct. 8Oct. 23******
June 20Sept. 11Sept. 18Sept. 27Oct. 7Oct. 22*********
June 25Sept. 18Sept. 27Oct. 7Oct. 21*********
June 30Sept. 27Oct. 7Oct. 21************
***Date is beyond average 28F frost event of Oct. 21
Black layer predictions based on historical data for York County, NE from 1981-2021. Average 28F frost date for this site is October 21.
***indicates the date is beyond the average 28F average first frost of October 21.

Clay Center, Ne Data
Avg. 28F frost Oct. 18
Relative Maturity80859095100105110
Planting DateGDD to R61917203821592280240125212642
June 15Sept. 9Sept. 16Sept. 25Oct. 5Oct. 20*********
June 20Sept. 15Sept. 24Oct. 4Oct. 17*********
June 25Sept. 23Oct. 3Oct. 16************
June 30Oct. 2Oct. 15***************
***Date is beyond average 28F frost event of Oct. 18
Black layer predictions based on historical data for Clay County, NE from 1981-2021. Average 28F frost date for this site is October 18.
***indicates the date is beyond the average 28F average first frost of October 18.

A couple farmers have asked about interseeding cover crops into hail damaged fields for weed control. One farmer tried this with us in 2021 in the Hordville area after a late June hailstorm. He had 10-13K stand left with deep hail bruising that was deferred by insurance and was interested in forage for grazing after harvest. We interseeded a 10-13 multispecies cover crop mix that we use in our interseeding fields. Buckwheat is the white flowering plant and it germinates the fastest and shades the ground quickly. The cover crop seemed to help hold the ears better from dropping on the ground when stalks started breaking from bruising and it also to the line appeared greener where the cover crop was. It also to the line made a huge difference in the palmer and waterhemp pressure in the field. The mix held/provided 200 lb/ac nitrogen as well via biomass samples collected pre-harvest. However, the producer felt this specific mix would’ve been better used as silage for him.
What may be more helpful for producers interested in using interseeding to reduce weeds would be to seed low-growing cover crops. What you see here is purple top turnip, radish, flax, yellow sweetclover, hairy vetch, red ripper cowpea, annual ryegrass, and buckwheat. Of these seen here, I’d say to use forage collards, radishes/turnips, annual ryegrass to keep the costs down. One could throw in some iron and clay cowpeas just to help cover the ground more and they shouldn’t grow up past the ear nor go to seed like the red rippers will. For those looking for forage and can harvest in earlier October for better grazing, a York Co. grower also add sorghum to the interseeded mix in 2021. He said the AUM he achieved with the interseeded mix in his 10K corn stand (which was part of a test plot from 10-30K), was equivalent to grazing a quarter of cornstalks for a month. Be sure to talk with crop insurance if plan to interseed cover crops. We like drilling to get seed to soil contact vs. broadcast seeding, but realize that may not be feasible for everyone.

About jenreesources

I'm the Crops and Water Extension Educator for York and Seward counties in Nebraska with a focus in irrigated crop production and plant pathology.

Posted on June 20, 2022, in hail, JenREES Columns, Storm Damage and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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