When it comes to crop concerns, producers, by their nature, are the type who want to know what they can do to fix the problem.
Should they replant?
Are there applications one can add that would help those plants in the field recover?
Is the best option just to dig it all up and try again next year?
A group of producers met near a rural Brown County farm field June 21 between Springfield and Sanborn to learn their best options as a result of a significant hail storm that hit fields in Redwood, Brown and Cottonwood counties June 18.
The discussion was led by Southwest Research and Outreach Center (SWROC) staff and agronomists from the U of M who talked about what corn and soybean producers could do and what their best options are.
According to Jeff Coulter, Seth Naeve and Bruce Potter, the best option may be to just wait and see.
The corn crop in many areas was hit pretty hard with some corn fields experiencing significant loss of foliage leaving nothing but the stalk.
Depending on the stage at which that corn had reached, even what appears to be dramatic losses can see recovery, said Coulter.
“What you need to do is go out and assess the loss,” said Coulter, adding it is also obviously best to wait until one’s crop insurance agent has had a chance to look at the crop before any final decisions are made.
In this case the later spring planting may be an asset, as plants that were still in the early stages have a better chance of recovery.
It all has to do with the growth point, said Coulter, adding if the growth point still looks good the plant should recover.
Coulter said the growth point, located near the bottom of the stalk, looks like an arrowhead and should be white to yellow in color.
If the growth point is discolored, an orange to brown color, that likely means the plant is not going to recover.
The bad news for corn producers is those plants which were damaged beyond recovery should not be replaced.
It is too late in the season, even for a shorter maturity variety, for one to replant, Coulter said, adding the cost of replanting a field is not going to be made up in a replanted crop, as the yield is going to be lower.
He also said even plants that may look fine need to be checked to ensure they were not bruised, as that bruising could lead to stalk issues as the season continues.
“There is a high risk of lodging if the bruising is bad enough,” said Coulter, adding as one nears harvest it is also going to be a good idea to check plants that do survive and seem to be doing OK.
Page 2 of 2 - “Just go out and give them a little push,” he said, adding if they fall over one is going to have to adapt harvest practices as a result.
Seth Naeve of the U of M brought soybeans into the conversation, as that crop was also hit pretty hard.
“When it comes to soybeans, the decision is simple,” he said. “If there is any green tissue they should be fine.”
As the soybean crop was planted later, so much of the plant had not yet come up, and that is going to prove to be a good thing, Naeve said.
For those whose plants are missing that green tissue, Naeve said there are decisions that need to be made fast.
The drop dead planting date for soybeans in the region is before July 4, he said, and if conditions are right and one can replant before that date there is a good chance of having a good result yet.
The lack of high winds during the hail storm was also good news, said Naeve, as it likely reduced the amount of stem bruising, and he said what he has seen seems to follow that assumption. Yet, he added, producers still need to get out in their fields and take a look to determine that for themselves.
One of the things Naeve said Coulter both said to do is get out and do a population count in their fields to determine the number of plants per acre.
For corn if a good 28,000 plants still exist and if there are in the 90,000 plants per acre range for soybeans the best option is to do nothing.
According to Bruce Potter, there are a few disease issues that could arise due to hail, but he said most of them are bacterial in nature, adding in those cases there is really not a lot one can do anyway.
More info can be found at www.extension.umn.edu.