On Sunday, we had two separate storms roll through our area that both dropped a fair amount of hail, ranging from marble size to just larger than golf balls, which is unusual for our geography.  Almost all of our acreage received some damage, which is unusual because our farming operation is spread over a 15 mile radius.

One of the hail stones that fell

Most of our corn was at the V3 stage, which means there were three leaves fully emerged from the whorl.  At this stage, the corn plant’s growing point is still below the surface of the ground, which limits damage to the plant.  The plant is usually able to recover from damage very easily at this time.  The main problem that could happen is the inability of new foliage to emerge easily from the plant because it gets caught in shredded foliage.  If this problem is severe enough, one solution is to mow off the foliage to allow new foliage to emerge more easily.

Our soybeans ranged from emergence to unifoliate stage.  The first leaves of a soybean plant are the cotyledons, the second set of leaves are called unifoliate, because there is  just a single leaf on opposing sides of the stem.  After that, soybean leaves come out as a trifoliate, or three-leaf groupings.

Unifoliate stage

The main damage caused to soybeans at this time results from totally cutting of the plant below the leaves.  At this point, the plant is dead, as the growing point of a soybean plant is at the very top of the plant.  If enough of the stand is eliminated, replanting the field may be considered.

After walking all of our fields, I was able to determine that we should have the adjuster from the company that we purchase our hail insurance from come out to look, but that the damage was pretty minor.  Corn damage was limited to some torn leaves, and soybean damage amounted to about 3% of the plant being cut off, with some leaves being knocked off additional plants.

Stem damage to a corn plant

Wind damage/hail to corn

A leaf torn by a hail stone

Divot from a hail stone with adjacent soybean plants cut offSoybean plant that was cut off, adjacent plants with torn leaves

Found an actual golf ball!

I feel blessed that the damage we suffered to our crops was minimal, and would like to say that my thoughts and prayers go out to those who have lost so much more so far this spring from the many severe weather events that have occurred across the nation.

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