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jawlee
Senior Reader

hail hitting corn

Is anyone having hail hit their corn crop? Is it surviving it?

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3 Replies
Advisor

Re: hail hitting corn

   We have so few incidences of hail I dropped hail insurance 10 years ago.  I only ever had 1 minor claim in 30 years.   About 6 or 7 years ago my son  who is 25 now,and I were working in a metal roofed shed when a small hail storm came thru.  He said What's that?"   He had never seen or heard hail before.   It does seem like it was more of a worry years ago but my memory maybe playing tricks on me.  I can remember a pretty bad one about 40 years ago but have idea how bad the damage was.

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Advisor

Re: hail hitting corn

You can shear the corn plant right off at ground level with hail if the growing point hasn't emerged....but if it's a few inches taller than that..you might be in trouble. I've always wanted to know the same thing about milo..is that another reason why they raise it out west?..It will survive much more hail than corn will?

 

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Veteran Advisor

Re: hail hitting corn

We have had hail 3 times already this year, and at least some hail at least every 3rd year or more often.  What I can tell you I know:

 

If the growing point is at or below ground level (depends on a lot of things including planting depth) it can be sheared clear off, and grow right out of it, yield isn't harmed too much, but it will be a week or two later.

 

If the growing point is above ground, it depends on how big it is.  The bigger the plant up to tasseling, the easier you get yield loss.  The very worst time that can happen is right at pollenation.  Once the ear starts to form, unless the stones are big enough to bruise the ear, as time goes by, hail will reduce yield less and less.

 

In the growing season, up to tasseling, look at the leaves.  If the leaf has a few holes in it, don't worry much.  If the leaf on both sides of the rib are broken, so it looks like your corn is giving you 'the finger' start to worry.  If the midrib is broken, worry more.  If the tassel is in the whorl, worry a lot.  The biggest factor in yield loss (barring tassel damage) is loss of the leaf's ability to absorb sunlight, and get that energy into the plant.  The more new leaves the corn plant has yet to produce, the better the yield potential.  Bruising of the midrib can cause the sap to not flow from the leaf to plant, effectively 'killing' that leaf.  Also, every tear in the leaf, and bruise in the midrib/stalk is a potential entry point for disease.  If the corn looks like it has good yield potential after hail, some sort of fungicide might not be a bad idea. 

 

Remember that the corn will look the absolute worst right after the hail.  Corn that looks terrible will look beter in a week or two, and can still have good yield potential if it can send out new leaves, and/or the midribs aren't hurt.

 

Don't get the idea that I get hailed out every 3-4 years, but we DO get some amount of hail pretty often.  It seems that if we get an early spring hail, we get hail 2-3 times that year, I think the storms follow their previous track.  If the early hails miss us, the later ones ususally do, too.  Normally, the damage is 5 to 20%, not enough to get me to buy hail insurance.

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