Online tool to help producers deal with hail storms

It's never too early to talk about the threat of hail on crops, and there's a resource producers can use to help if disaster strikes.

We recently visited the Fremont Corn Expo, where NU Extension Educator Tyler Williams was on hand to tell farmers about what's called the "Hail Know Project". It's a website that offers all sorts of information on coping with the damage of a hail storm. "You never know when that hail storm is going to hit, and in most cases what we've found is that it's sort of a reactive thing," Williams said. "We wanted to create this project to help farmers know how to react. There are videos and research that focuses on the 'now what' after a storm."

The website for this project is www.cropwatch.unl.edu/hailknow. You can easily google "hail know" to find it, and those behind the project are trying to be visible on social media with the Hail Know project as well.

When a hail event happens, one suggestion experts like to give to producers is to not react too quickly. "Your first inclination is that it's a total loss, let's just plan on disking it up and moving on," Williams said. "One thing we tell people is to just go away for the weekend. Don't look at the crop after the damage. Come back and assess it after a few days. You'll be surprised how resilient some of those plants can be, and how fast they can bounce back."

UNL researchers have studied the recovery of crops after hail, and some of that information can be found in the Hail Know project. Again, Nebraska Extension experts are hoping farmers will take a look at the Hail Know Project, and they hope they will find it useful in the event of an unwanted storm.