Summer storms are bringing not just rain and high winds to the prairies but also hail.

This year, heavy rain, hail, funnel clouds, and even tornado warnings seem to be a prominent occurrence across the prairies.

Hail damage can prove very costly, cutting yields and, in some cases, devastating a crop.

Crop Extension Specialist Meghan Rosso says following a hail storm, farmers will want to give crops 3–4 days to see if plants will recover.

"Hail recovery is stage and crop dependent. Crops with their growing points below the ground have a better chance to regrow, but maturity will often be delayed. These include cereals and pulse crops. As we look to oilseed crops that have their growing points above the ground, they are much more susceptible to hail damage. Oilseeds at the seedling stage have a better chance of recovery as long as the hail has not broken the stem of the plant."

Rosso notes that the chances of crop recovery from hail go down as the crop advances through the various stages of development.

The Canola Council of Canada reminds producers to be patient and give the crop several days post-hail before making any decisions. 

In the latest Canola Watch newsletter, they note that canola can usually recover from early season hail as it has a natural ability to branch and regrow.

Branching after hail can provide compensation for hail damage, but the crop will be at higher risk of sclerotinia due to extended flowering and will mature later.

Producers will also need to be aware of the added potential for disease development, as the hail creates open wounds on the crop plant and leaves, which can then be an access point for disease in the coming weeks.