Evaluating Early Hail Damaged Crops…
Early hail strikes the Canadian prairies every year, sometimes before the producer buys hail coverage. We are often asked, it hailed on my crop, I don’t have coverage what should I do?
All crop types react differently to hail injury at different stages.
The best thing to do once the clouds clear and the sun come out is take a drive around the area damaged by the storm. Don’t be tempted to bring out the seeder, as the crop always looks the worst right after the storm. Hail is hard on crops; plants may have broken stalks, stripped or shredded leaves. However, most young crops have resilience to early hail injury. We recommend waiting three to five days then evaluate the crop damage. By the tenth day, you should be able to tell which plants will survive.
Most vegetative or early staged crops have a very good chance of recovery and surviving a hail storm, some with little or no loss. However, as the crop goes through rapid growth stages they become more vulnerable to hail damage. When evaluating hail damage it is important to determine the stage of growth, the extent of damage to the stand, and the defoliation to leaves and stalk breakage.
When an early stage uninsured crop receives hail Co-op Hail’s underwriting policy is to not insure that crop for 10 days from the storm date. This is so the previous damage differential can be determined if there were another hail storm.
Once plants reach their reproductive stages of growth, assessment will then include the degree of plant injury such as stand reduction, leaf defoliation, stem or stalk damage and any seed or pod damage, all of which may impact the plant production. Plants will need to be evaluated and the percentage of loss identified.
Many crop evaluations are based on research completed on hailed crops at specific stages to determine average loss or damage crops sustain at certain growth stages. Often tables are used to determine the damage from hail injury.