Hail damage now forcing replanting decisions

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. — While farmers in the Midwest consider replanting options in the wake of flooding fields, some farmers on Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore are in the same predicament, but theirs is due to hail damage.
A storm brought random hail to Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore and fields only a mile apart went undamaged, while other suffered shredding and defoliation, Jarrod Miller, Somerset County ag agent wrote on the University of Maryland Extension’s Maryland Agronomy News blog last week.
It’s raised a lot of questions for the affected farmers concerning replanting, yield loss and pathogen damage.
Citing advice from University of Nebraska, where growers have also had recent hail damage, Miller urged patience when evaluating loss.
“Producers should keep planting empty fields while watching hail damage recovery, re-evaluating in about 7-10 days,” he wrote. “Consulting crop insurance agents will help determine whether losses require replanting.”
The Nebraska research found complete defoliation of corn at the V2-V5 stages resulted in 8.7 to 23 percent losses, possibly due to reduced ear size from lower leaf area.
Shredded corn leaves at those stage resulted in a 4 percent yield loss.
Losses are also subject to the variability in hybrids, soil types and weather during the season, Miller added.
Another important question is fungicide applications following wounding by hail damage.
According to Dr. Nidhi Rawat, University of Maryland plant science professor, disease favored by wounding in corn, including Goss’s wilt, common smut and stalk rot, are not controlled by fungicides.
Goss’s wilt can be common after hail storms due to rain splash off of last years corn residue.
The foliar diseases managed by fungicides such as gray leaf spot, northern corn leaf blight, eye spot, common rust on corn and brown spot and frog eye on soybeans are caused by pathogens that do not require wounds for infection.
Much like corn, Miller said soybeans should be evaluated seven to 10 days following a hail storm for a stand count, according to the Nebraska research. Leaf loss during vegetative stages sets back plant growth, but not necessarily yields.
Unlike corn, soybeans have several growth points and as long as growing points remain above the cotyledons, soybeans can recover.