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Lightning Strikes in Soybeans
What are the odds that a soybean plant can be killed by lightning? Very low! In a recent ten year period, eastern South Dakota had an average of one to two strikes per square kilometer, per year. While quite uncommon for lightning to damage row crops, it does happen. Thunderstorms can have lightning that can burn soybeans plants leading to their death. Plants that looked just fine before the thunderstorm may suddenly start to show wilting symptoms and eventually die. Before you blame dead plants on plant pathogens, check to see if this could be due to a lightning strike.
How can you determine if plants were killed by lightning?
According to a University of Nebraska publication, lightning strike happens in poorly drained areas in the field where a pool of water may collect. Plants affected by lightning may show ozone injury symptoms. Lightning discharges ozone after the strike. Plants that are not completely killed by lightning may have other pathogens develop such as stem canker. However, stem canker does not need lightning in order to develop in soybeans.
Source: Emmanuel Byamukama, iGrow
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