Severe weather can alter crop production

July 1, 2018

Let’s talk crops! My name is Dr. Megan Taylor working with Nebraska Extension as an Educator for crops and water systems in Platte, Boone, and Nance counties.

This is a special version of Crop Talk focused on the recent severe weather that we have encountered over the past three days. In our area we saw reports anywhere from 4-7 inches of rains. There was also quarter sized hail in northern Platte County on Saturday evening.

With heavy rains there is a risk of flooding and ponding within some of our fields. Ponding results in lowered oxygen levels within our soils, which creates anaerobic conditions. Plants that are partially submerged may continue to photosynthesize but at lower rates.

In soybeans and corn, there is some stunting of growth after 48 hours under flooding stress. After 48 hours it is possible to see a decline in biomass, yield, and possible plant death. Wait at least two days to evaluate water damage. It recommended to treat the situation similarly to hail, be patient, flag areas that are under stress, take pictures of damage, and take stand counts to evaluate damage.

In regards to hail damage, remember to give crops seven to 10 days to recover. For more hail resources check out HailKnow, an online resource provided by UNL. To determine survival for both hail and water damage look for new growth and development in the whorl in corn. Emergence of new pale green trifoliates indicates renewed soybean growth. Remember to stay positive during this times of unpredictable weather.

Personally, storm damage is a difficult problem to manage, so I would encourage you to reach out to your cooperative, other farmers, local agronomists, and UNL extension personnel to talk through your options. For more information check out CropWatch or contact me at the Platte County extension office.

I can be reached via phone at 402-563-4901, email at mtaylor42@unl.edu, or follow me on twitter @CropTalkMegan for up to date information. Join me next time for more crop talk.

Dr. Megan Taylor is a crop educator for Nebraska Extension.