June 17, 2016 will stand out in my mind for many years to come. I have never witnessed such devastation of crops over such a large area. We were told that the hail track was 5 miles wide and 35 miles long. The center of the storm received wind-driven pea sized hail for 35 straight minutes. One of our corn fields is located about 1 mile west of the center of the hail track. We had just spent the first 2/3 of the day building ridges in this field readying it for next year’s bean planting.
My stomach churned then next morning as I drove to survey the damage. The last three miles made me tense up even more. I was seeing badly damaged corn and it was still getting worse as I continued east.
Thoughts were going through my mind like “How bad could it be?”; “Surely it would get better after a couple more miles. Hail isn’t usually that wide”. As I crossed the last intersection, 1/2 mile from the field, I gave up hope. I surveyed the extensive damage and huge ponds of water that first made it look like a complete loss. East-west rows were almost completely wiped out while north-south rows shielded each other from the almost straight north wind-driven hail giving them a higher survival rate. Continue reading
Fall is the time to evaluate our corn varieties in order to aid in decision making for next year’s planting. Our test plot consists of 24 – 4 row strips planted 600′ long. Walking through the plot prior to harvest helps us learn about the strengths and weaknesses of each variety. This year we looked at how many harvest-able ears we have per acre along with how many of the ears were significantly under sized in our opinions. We also looked at the stalks and how much goose-necking they were doing. This year presented us with some strong winds along with a round of hail. The hail damage to the corn was minimal but the wind definitely put the stalks to the test. Now we wait for the combine and weigh wagon to give us the final results.
After much of the snow melted away we were presented with a stark comparison of wind erosion on our Ridge Till field versus the neighbors well worked field. If you click on the photo to the left to enlarge, you will see almost black covered snow compared to our nearby ditch. The photo to the right is a shot down the field.