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Strong Winds Zap Some Indiana Corn Fields

Strong Winds Zap Some Indiana Corn Fields
Amount of damage depends upon if corn is still standing and stage of growth.

The storms which rumbled across parts of Indiana on various days last week pelted some fields with too much rain, some with hail, some with strong winds and some with all three. Bob Nielsen, Purdue University Extension corn specialist, provides tips for assessing corn damaged by wind.

If the plants are just leaning, that is the best situation possible, he notes. As long as they are not yet silking or pollinating, the plants should recover with little or no impact on yield. If plants were silking and tasseling, shading from plants which were blown into each other could affect pollination.

Strong wind: This storm was so strong it blew rolls of drainage tile waiting to be installed in a field across the road into this corn field, and used it as a steam roller. Where plants weren't rolled over, but just damaged by winds, they're showing signs of recovery a few days after the storm.

Plants that are root-lodged and leaning over because the roots didn't withstand the winds are likely to goose-neck. Again, if goose-necking occurs before pollination, there may be little effect. If plants haven't recovered through goosenecking by pollination, Nielsen says some shading of silks may affect and prevent proper pollination.

Related: Corn Yield Loss Estimates from Hail Damage May Surprise You

Goosenecking for fields hit with winds after pollination may help the crop produce a decent yield, but it may present harvesting problems. The problems are likely to be worse for older combines with older-style corn heads.

The worst situation is where the winds were so severe that they caused 'green snap.' Basically, plants snap off completely. Obviously, recovery rate will be low, Nielsen says.

Timing is still important. If green snap occurs after an ear is set and the green snap is above the ear, those plants may still produce grain. However, expect less yield than if there was no loss of foliage that captures sunlight and produces food. If plants snap off below the ear, it's a total loss.

Assessing yield loss in these fields where green snap occurs is usually just a matter of counting the number of plants that snapped vs. those that survived without snapping, he notes. Yield will hinge on the number of remaining plants that did not snap.

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