Hail Damage Leaves Midwest Farmers With Tough Replant Decisions

01:00AM May 16, 2016
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Hail damage can lead to tough decisions for farmers. On May 11, massive hail in pockets of the Midwest led to severe damage that could lead to replant or crop insurance claims.


NOAA's Storm Prediction Center's hail reports from Monday May 9 to Thursday May 12. Circle size corresponds to size of hailstone reported. Color corresponds to day of the week. (NOAA/Farm Journal)

Hail fell from Oklahoma to parts of Illinois and ranged from dime- to baseball-sized hail.


In Oklahoma, corn is far enough along in the growing process that replant might not be an option, no matter how severe the damage. John Stotts, master agronomy adviser with Winfield, advises farmers wait and see before making any decisions. “This storm happened less than eight hours before the picture (below) was taken,” Stotts says. “It generally takes three to five days before we can really assess the extent of the damage.”

Cornfields were severely damaged near Lawton, Okla., due to hail that ranged from 1.5" to 2.25" in diameter on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of John Stotts

Farmers in Missouri might see less severe yield loss since their plants are smaller. “My corn was between V3 and V4,” says Kyle Allen, Channel seedsman in eastern Missouri, which received hail that ranged from 1/2" to 3/4" diameter. “It damaged the leaves, but the worst damage I saw was 15% to 20% potential yield loss," Allen says. "Since the growing point is still below the ground, we’re optimistic.”

Many in hail-stricken areas took to Twitter to share what they were seeing.


Many universities have guides to help determine the percentage of potential yield loss. It’s also important to talk with your crop insurance adjusters before taking action such as replanting. Without consulting with your adjuster, you might not receive reimbursement.

Did you get hail? How did it affect your fields? Send your photos and observations to AgWeb's Crop Comments.