How much hail damage can crops take?


In many fields across the Corn Belt, soybeans are at or near full bloom (R2 growth stage), and corn is at early tassel (VT) to silk emergence (R1). At these development stages, crops should have reached GDD of 1262 heat units and have great yield potential.

But this growth stage (and this time of year) is also the time when plants are the most susceptible to yield loss from hail damage.

What defoliation does to yield potential

When hail occurs on corn at or before V6 growth stage, no yield potential has really been lost, even with complete defoliation of plants.

But for the VT to R1 stages of development:

  • 10 percent leaf defoliation yield potential can be reduced by 3 percent
  • 50 percent leaf loss yields can be reduced by 31 percent
  • 100 percent leaf defoliation can mean a 100 percent yield loss


Now, before a hail event occurs, is the best time to visit with your insurance provider about your coverage. There is nothing worse than a crop with great yield potential that is ultimately destroyed in just a few short minutes by a severe hail storm.


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