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Evaluating Hail Damage in Soybeans

Soybeans are more susceptible to hail damage once they emerge. Although hail is never on the weather wish list, beans can be replanted later in the year with less yield penalty. However, the worst time to get hail is when soybeans are mature since seeds can get knocked out of their pods, causing an almost total loss. Wait 7 to 10 days after a hailstorm to accurately assess the damage, and follow these 4 scouting steps to evaluate soybean health.

1. Count multiple field stands to determine plants per acre.
If your field has good and poor areas following a hailstorm, take several stand counts from both locations to get an average. Then determine field percentage with a poor stand. This will give you the average stand in the poor areas, and the total area of field affected. Plants will keep growing if stems aren’t cut off below the cotyledons, which are the first leaves to appear from a germinating seed.

​​​​​​​Source: Michigan State University 

2. Determine how to maximize yield and profit with the current situation.
Reference the chart below once current stand and plant population per viable acre are calculated. This will help you decide if it’s best to keep, replant or fill in your soybean stand moving forward.

Source: University of Nebraska

3. Calculate yield potential based on planting date.
The charts below show how planting date plays a big factor in yield potential.

Source: University of Iowa

Source: University of Minnesota

​​​​​​​Source: University of Nebraska

4. Examine stem damage.
Evaluating stem damage is the final evaluation step since severe bruising can limit water and nutrient uptake. Stem damage and bruising can reduce standability, potentially causing significant stalk lodging at harvest. Split the soybean stem to see the damage. If the stem damage extends beyond the leaf sheaths into the pith, the plant likely won’t recover or will face serious loss due to stalk lodging.

Contact your local Golden Harvest Seed Advisor with questions or for additional agronomic insights.

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