Response to June 18 hail storm

Name and Position/Title: 
John Holmes, Extension Field Agronomist

Fiscal Year Submitted: 
2011

POW Title and Number: 
101 Corn and Soybean Production

Title: 
Response to June 18 hail storm

Issue: 
On June 17 a severe hail storm injured crossed north central Iowa injuring corn and soybeans in a band including northern Wright, southern Hancock, northern Franklin, and southern Cerro Gordo County.  Farmers and agronomists requested help in assessing injury and making re-planting decisions. 

What Did You Do?  
Four meetings were conducted within the affected area.  Recruitment was done by partnering with local Corn and Soybean Initiative partners, local seed dealers, and the local crop insurance agency.  Total attendance was 115 persons. John Holmes explained how to assess the hail injury and how to determine if re-planting was required.  In addition to the meetings, fifteen field visits were made.  Interviews were given to KGLO radio, Mason City; KLMJ radio, Hampton; KIMT-TV, Mason City, the Globe Gazette, Mason City; Farm News, and Northeast Iowa AgriNews about hail injury. 

In late July a local seed dealer noticed that a few fields of the hail-injured corn essentially had no tassels.  Visits were made to four fields.  One field was visited several times in four weeks.  Plant samples from two fields were collected and shown to Dr. Roger Elmore, Extension Corn Specialist.  He inspected plants and explained why tassels failed to emerge.  Samples were also collected prior to harvest to allow agronomists to see final ear development. 

Results (Outcomes – was there a increase in knowledge, new skills learned, new decisions made, new practices implemented, increased profitability, new standards, enhanced quality of life)
Farmers and agronomists learned how to assess hail injury to corn and soybeans.  Persons attending a meeting increased their knowledge about crop staging, hail damage, and making re-planting decisions.  Field visits allowed more in-depth discussion and evaluation of crops.  Often several people would be present during a field visit in addition to the farmer who owned the field.  It was common for farmers to stop and join the visit if they saw the ISU car driven by the field agronomist in the field drive.  These people would observe, ask questions, and use the information to evaluate their fields.  Their knowledge was increased and their confidence in making re-planting decisions was increased. 

The lack of tassels on hail-injured corn proved to teach agronomists and farmers a significant amount about hail injury and the potential of corn to recover.  Dr. Elmore explained why tassels were extremely small or failed to emerge.  Everyone involved learned considerable information about corn physiology.  Those hail injured fields yielded roughly 90-100 bushels/acre.  ISU Extension encouraged these farmers NOT to destroy the fields and wait until harvest after it was apparent that a serious pollination problem had occurred.  Approximately 100 acres failed to pollinate.  Nine thousand bushels were produced on these fields.  If corn is valued at $5/bushel, $45,000 income was generated from these very seriously injured fields. 

Page last updated: June 22, 2011
Page maintained by Julie Honeick, jhoneick@iastate.edu