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Hail Damage in Soybean (07/07/16)

A hailstorm can potentially cause yield losses in soybean ranging from limited yield impact to total destruction of the crop.

Hail Damage in Soybean

A hailstorm can potentially cause yield losses in soybean ranging from limited yield impact to total destruction of the crop. Yield loss predictions are based on two factors: a) the growth stage at the time of damage and b) the degree of plant damage. Plant damage may include leaf defoliation, stand reduction, stem damage and pod damage. The dominant growing point of the soybean plant is located near the top of the plant. However, there are also growing points in the leaf axils. If the top of the plant is damaged regrowth can take place form one of more of the axillary buds.

Stand reduction is a measured as the number of plants killed by the storm. Defoliation is measured as a percentage of the leaf area destroyed by the hail storm. Leaf tissue that is green and still attached to the plant will continue the process of photosynthesis and is not considered destroyed leaf area. Research has shown that leaf loss during vegetative stages has limited effect on yield. Defoliation loss is measured only in the reproductive stages and most soybean plants will be in the reproductive stage starting the first or second week in July.

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The table provides general guidelines to soybean yield losses due to hail injury. The pod-setting and pod-fill periods are very susceptible to severe injury. The percentage of nodes cut off or broken were not included in the calculation of the yield loss. Bean stems may be bruised or broken. The damage may not be severe enough to kill the plant but the plant may lodge later in the season as the callus tissue is relatively weak and may not support the weight of the pods.

 Hans Kandel

Extension Agronomist Broadleaf Crops

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