The following is an edited version of an article originally published in conjunction with Kansas Corn. The original article can be found on their website at http://kscorn.com.
Severe thunderstorms and hail are nothing new to Kansas farmers, and during this time of year our threat level is RED. After every storm the first question that may pop into your mind is, how will this affect my crops?
The first question you need to answer is:
How far along in development is your corn?
So let’s say you were hit by a hail storm last night, and you go out today to look at your crop. The best thing you can do is get back in the pick-up truck and drive away. Don’t make any decisions right away, time is your friend. Wait a few days and then come back to check the signs of growth. Even the little plants need a few days to grow so that you can get a stand count of the field.
An accurate estimate of plant survival should be done in the coming days to more precisely determine damaged plants that will survive vs. missing plants – causing stand reductions. Young corn has a great capacity to recover from early-season hail damage. Scout your fields and check for final number of plants and potential problems associated with these weather events such as lowered disease resistance (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Corn plants damaged by hail such as this one could be at a greater threat for disease. Photo provided by Kansas Corn.
Check out the blog post, All Hail Mother Nature, to see post-hail and pre-harvest photos from fields that were hit by a major hail storm in southwest Kansas during the 2017 growing season.
Ignacio Ciampitti, Crop Production and Cropping Systems Specialist
Dale Fjell, Kansas Corn Director of Research and Sustainability