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Wind and hail damage

Assessing hail damage to corn and making replant decisions can be difficult. You’ll need to consider many variables when deciding whether to replant or maintain the existing stand.

The yield potential of hail-damaged crops depends largely on the remaining plant population, the type and severity of damage and the growth stage when damaged.

More guidance: Evaluating recovery and managing damaged corn

Assessing crop survivability

hail damaged corn field
Hail-damaged corn in Kandiyohi County, July 6, 2016
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How to estimate yield losses

Hail damage is highly variable within fields. To most accurately estimate the surviving corn plant population, count surviving plants in as many locations within a management unit as possible.

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Replanting

Only consider replanting in fields where the crop is a total loss.

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Managing damaged fields

Weed control

The most important and difficult challenge with hail-damaged crops often revolves around weed control. Maintain good weed control all season, but avoid contact herbicides that stress the crop.

Fungicides

While it’s crucial to avoid further stress to your damaged crop, foliar fungicides are unlikely to improve crop recovery and yield. The most damaging diseases are bacterial in nature.

Fungicides have no effect on these bacterial diseases. Plus, the defoliated crop is unlikely to effectively take up the fungicide. Instead, focus on pests you can control, like weeds and insects, and avoid applying costly inputs that aren’t likely to increase yield.

Cover crops

Planting a cover crop may be a viable option for areas where the original crop was completely lost. Additional considerations for such fields include weed control and avoiding fallow syndrome.

Jeff Coulter and Seth L. Naeve, Extension agronomists

Reviewed in 2018

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