Source: Northwest Ohio Crop, Pest & Weather Report

The storm on May 7 literally mowed off several hundred acres of wheat in southern Henry County and substantially damaged the crop in other areas. Area farmers say the air after the storm had the smell of freshly mowed hay. The area of Henry County along and south of State Route 281 and east of Road 8 had some of the greatest crop damage. There was a progression of damage with the severest injury where the hail cut the stem at or below the head, while in other fields a percentage from 5-80 of the stems were bent over to the least injurious situation where only the flag leave was damaged.

At this stage of May, the crop has gotten all the herbicide, and pest control inputs invested. Salvaging some value from the crop will be difficult in many cases. The follow are some considerations for farmers with damaged fields.

1. Contact your insurance agent. Hail insurance is an obvious claim to file. If you do not have hail insurance but do have some of the other crop insurance products for production and price still at least make a call to your agent. Replanting to another crop and other questions should be clarified before destroying a crop. You will also want to report to Farm Service Agency with your summer reporting changes in cropping. It is better to ask now rather than after you have destroyed a standing crop and miss out on benefits.

2. Harvest as a grain crop. The following chart was published in the Wisconsin Crop Manager Newsletter May 18, 2000 7(9):52. The chart gives yield potential based on stage of growth and 100 percent of the stems being bent. Most of the local crop was pre boot to the boot stage so 28-39 percent is the area of loss we are working in where the main damage was bent stems.
Hail Damage to Wheat in Ohio

3. Abandon the grain crop and harvest as a forage. This is dependent on there being a livestock producer close enough to harvest as green chop. Another option is harvesting as hay. Some of the worst fields have half the dry matter on the ground plus as the crop continues to mature the feed value is lowering. So before harvesting for hay, some estimation of value should be made to see if it makes economic sense. In addition feed value the labels of products (insecticide, herbicides and fungicides) that have been used in the last 30 days should be consulted for harvest restriction. For example "Harmony and Harmony Extra labels state "do not graze or feed forage or hay from treated areas to livestock". Quilt has a 30-day restriction. Warrior has a 21-day restriction."

4. Destroy crop and replant to corn or soybeans. Sometimes damaged plants can be very difficult to control. The following recommendations come from Dr. Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension Weed Scientist, "Definitely plant a RR crop so the option of POST glyphosate applications to finish off the wheat can be made. At this time, use 1.5 lbs ae - 64 oz of generic, 44 oz PowerMax/WeatherMax, or 48 oz of Touchdown. Add AMS and don't mix any residual herbicides with it. Application in 10 gpa may be more effective than higher volumes."

Surrounding corn fields were also sheared off in a similar fashion but were only in a V1 growth stage with the growing point located below ground where it was protected. These plants will recover without difficulty. The only thing growers should remember is that the injury occurred and when staging the plants for future pesticide applications that the growth stage is 1 to 2 stages more advanced depending on how many leaves were destroyed. This is important for some herbicide applications.

A couple of soybean fields were just coming up as well. Plants were broken off below the cotyledon eliminating the only growing points on the plant. Fields where populations are less than 85,000 plants per acre or with large open areas will need to be replanted.