Hail damage is common across many soybean and corn producing areas in the United States (National Crop Insurance Service, 2008). Since 2003, the National Crop Insurance Service has paid claims on an average of 2.3 million acres of soybean per year at an average cost of $53.5 million. Over the same period of time, the NCIS estimates approximately $36 to $59 million in annual claims due to hail damage in corn (Bradley and Ames, 2010). With increasing global temperatures, more extreme and unpredictable weather patterns have been suggested; therefore; grower risk for severe hail damage may increase (Kajfez Bogataj, 2005).
In 2009, severe hail damage was reported in Southwest WI and across large sections of Iowa. Following this hail event, growers, retailers, and agronomists alike were asking if these acres needed to be treated with a fungicide. Much of this was prompted by BASF’s supplemental label for Headline® that states, “the plant health benefits may include improved host plant tolerance to yield-robbing environmental stresses, such as drought, heat, cold temperatures, and ozone damage” and for corn, “improved stalk strength and better harvestability, inducted tolerance to stalk diseases, better tolerance to hail, more uniform seed size.”