Farming Smarter wanted to produce scientific data about crop recovery after it sustains hail damage. They developed, tested and verified a hail simulator to produce damage on crops. Project technicians damage pulse crops at various three growth stages (early, mid, late) with degrees of damage. The project compares an untreated check to plots treated with fungicide and nutrient within a few days after the damage occurs.
Field Peas & Dry Beans
The field trials on peas took place at Lethbridge, Vegreville (Innotech), and Falher (SARDA). Dry bean trials took place in Lethbridge. Data collected includes density, height (pre- and post-hail damage), post-hail NDVI measurements, biomass at maturity, yield and quality parameters (test weight and 1000-kernel weight).
Factor 1: Timing (of damage)
Factor 2: Damage levels
Factor 3: Foliar treatments Peas – applied within 2 – 3 days of damage
Factor 3: Foliar treatments Beans – applied within 2 – 3 days of damage
The principle outcome was that the extent of hail damage depends largely on what growth stage is damaged and when, more than the level of damage or recovery products applied. A heavy damage early on in the year that breaks all the leaves off is less damaging than a light damage late in the year that breaks stems or damages flowers.
Independent of hail damage, a fungicide application proved effective in improving yield, but the nutrient did not. Neither a fungicide or nutrient application improved yield after hail damage. Additional money spent on trying to recover a hail damaged crop is not economical. It is prudent for producers to ensure they have sufficient hail insurance to cover operating costs (at minimum).
Future research could compare early damaged hail crop to one that is reseeded to compare which will yield the best.
Final Hail Pulse Report
Final Report release date: Sept. 2019
Timing of hail more important than damage Western Producer Jan 2019
Healing hail damage depends on timing Farming Smarter article July 2018
Agronomy 911: Can inputs save a hailed-out crop? Alberta Pulse Growers
Managing your hail damage Grainews March 2017
Learning in the field at Farming Smarter, Farming Smarter Magazine, Spring 2017, page 10
Do hail recovery products really work, Farming Smarter Magazine, Fall 2016, page 10
Hail simulator helps determine crop recovery expectations, July 7, 2016, Western Producer
DIY hail, March 2016, Top Crop Manager
Plot hop season ends on a high note for Farming Smarter – July 28, 2016
Researchers invent their own version of the great white combine Alberta Farmer Express July 2015
Hail simulations give crops a beating Western Producer July 2015