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.
At a hail meeting a couple days later, we were told that the growing point of the corn at this point in time was about 4″ above the ground. Any plant taller than that had potential to continue to grow and put on an ear. My crop consultant surveyed the damage and renewed my hope of harvesting some kind of a crop in the fall.
Not only will the hail cost us in loss of income from losing yield but other expenses must now be incurred. We would be counting on the corn shading out new weeds once our riding was done. This will not be the case so more time and money will have to be put into this field for continued weed control. If we don’t do this, then the money will be spent in the years to come controlling weeds that went to seed this year.