Hail 'As Big as Baseballs' Leaves Damage Behind

Hail 'As Big as Baseballs' Leaves Damage Behind

Asses crop damage a few days after the storm.

It isn't bragging if you can prove it. One farmer in central Indiana still has a half-dozen baseball to softball-sized hailstones in his freezer. He wants to make sure people know he isn't exaggerating when he talks about the storm that ripped through his area about 10 days ago.

A roof as new as two-years old was wrecked by the storm. As a sign of the times, vs. those years in the '90s when it stormed and some people waited months for a roofer, one farmer says a local contractor, a reputable one, was out that afternoon canvassing the area, looking for people with possible hail damage so he could bid on replacing the rood and keeping his crew busy.

Meanwhile, anything outside, including car windshields if the hail fell just right, were apparently free game for the unusually large hail stones. Imagine being pelted by hail that large.

Crop insurance adjustors got several calls last week form clients who had separate hail insurance on their policies. A few adjustors visited the field right away, but most followed the policy generally recommended by crop insurance companies now. They've learned to give the crop a week to 10 days to recover. For many, that means adjustors will be walking fields this week to determine how much damage to yield may have been done by the hailstone. Most areas didn't see hail as big as baseballs, but a much wider area apparently was pelleted by pea-to-marble sized hail that damaged corn and soybeans.

One adjustor inside the industry reports that for corn, it's basically a matter of counting plants that will survive. On plants this small, little is detracted for shredded leaves. For most of the fields, the growing point was still below the ground. "It certainly wasn't as tall that Monday morning as it was the night before," one farmer quipped.

Wheat can be harder to determine yield loss at this time of year after a hail storm, the adjustor says. It depends on if the crop is nearing maturity, and where on the top part of the plant the damage occurs. Wheat has already been harvested in some cases in southwestern Indiana.

Other less tangible factors than counting damaged heads and flag leafs come into play when deciding what to do with the field. In some cases, the damage may be severe enough to allow weeds to get a start under the canopy. After the wheat is harvested, unless the straw is baled quickly, it may be full of weeds once the field is clipped and baled.

TAGS: USDA
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