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Help Your Soybeans Survive Hail Season

July 12, 2018
this agronomic image shows young soybeans.

Thunderstorm season is among us, and with rain often comes hail – a real threat to emerged soybeans.

While hail is never desired, soybeans can be replanted later into the year without a severe yield penalty. If your soybean fields are affected by hail, wait 7 to 10 days after the storm, then carefully assess the damage to determine next steps.

1. ) Take several stand counts to determine the plants per acre in the field.

If the field has both good and poor areas, take several stand counts from both areas to get an average. Then determine the percent of the field that has a poor stand. This number will give you an idea of the average stand in the poor areas and the total area of the field affected. The plants are considered alive and will produce new growth as long as the stems were not cut off below the cotyledons and some green leaf tissue or cotyledons are attached to the stem.

This chart shows stand count and growth for soybeans.

(Source: Michigan State University Extension)

2.) Determine if keeping the current stand, replanting or filling in the current stand provides the best opportunity.

Once the current stand is evaluated and plant population per acre of viable plants is known, use the charts below to help aid in a decision of what to do with the current stand.

This chart shows percent field loss of soybeans affected by stand reduction.

This chart shows soybean yield loss from defoliation.

(Source: University of Nebraska Extension)

3.) Evaluate Stem Damage

Evaluation for stem damage is also critical. Severe stem bruising can limit the soybean plant’s ability to translocate water and nutrients. Stem damage and bruising can also reduce standability and potentially cause significant stalk lodging at harvest. To evaluate stem damage, split the soybean stem. If the stem damage extends beyond the leaf sheaths and into the pith, the soybean plant will not recover or will likely have serious loss due to stalk lodging.

This chart shows the planting date intervals for soybeans.

(Source: University of Minnesota Extension)

This chart shows soybean planting dates and percent yield reduction.

(Source: University of Nebraska Extension)

4.) If You Need to Replant, Know Your Yield Potential

The chart below shows the yield potential of soybeans based on planting date.

this chart shows soybean yield loss potential after replanting.

(Source: Iowa State University)

If you suspect hail is impacting your fields, speak with your NK® retailer for management recommendations.

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