Hail, high winds damage crops
By Janet Kubat Willette
Date Modified: 08/02/2012 12:20 PM
Nearly 200 farmers attended a meeting in the Lafayette Community Center June 21 to have their crop questions answered after an early morning storm on June 19 left a path of damage.
The first report of hail came in at 2:40 a.m. in Redwood Falls. Fifteen minutes later, hail hit near Morgan and Gilfillan. Hail reports came in from Fairfax, Winthrop, Gaylord, Le Center, Belle Plaine, Lakeville and Dundas before the storm moved into Wisconsin, according to the National Weather Service. High winds accompanied the hail, with gusts of 45 miles per hour reported in Redwood Falls, 49 mph in Brown County and 83 mph in Belle Plaine. Gusts of 66 mph were reported in Scott County and 56 mph in Carver County. Wind and hail was also reported in Hennepin County.
The wind and hail left quite a range in corn damage in their wake, said University of Minnesota Extension corn agronomist Jeff Coulter. He said loss ranges from 15 percent or 20 percent on up to a complete loss.
He advises farmers to split the stalk of surviving plants to see if the growing point is healthy. The growing point in most corn in the area is 12 to 20 inches above the soil surface. The corn was about waist high before the storm.
If the growing point is brown, or if the plant is damaged below the growing point, the plant won't recover, said Extension educator Dave Nicolai.
Nicolai said soybeans suffered more leaf and stem damage because of their size.
Before taking any action in their fields, farmers need to notify their crop insurance agent, Coulter and Nicolai said.
Policyholders should notify their insurance company if they have damage within 72 hours of the event, said Gary Lager, senior financial services executive with AgStar Financial Services in Mankato. If they haven't notified their agent yet, they need to make the call ASAP.
If producers want to replant, they need to have the OK from their adjuster. They can get paid to replant one time. Also, if producers want to switch crops on a damaged parcel, that must be approved as well. Then, producers must decide if they want to insurance the new crop.
Lager advises producers to discuss this with their agent. If producers are interested in replanting, they should notify their agent ASAP so the adjuster can prioritize fields to examine.
There's definitely going to be some replanting of soybeans, Lager said.
"Make informed decisions," said Ken W. Rossow, senior vice president of Nicollet County Bank in St. Peter.