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Corn roots growing video

A lot of corn has been planted and it is now rooting down. Have you ever wondered what that looks like?

The Gilroy lab funded by the NSF & NASA studies how plants sense and respond to stress, and how roots grow.

The had this video linked to their website.

 

 As the root pushes down it develops root hairs to increase its surface area so it increases its nutrient and water absorbing capacity.

 

 

The Blogronomist is maintained by Craig Dick, head blogronomist and VP of Sales and Marketing. Here you will find a wide array of blog articles from Craig and expert guests on topics related to soil and crop health, farming, and so much more. If it’s not here, ask us!

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Better Roots for Better Soil

Could better corn roots be the key to better quality soil and water? According to the article “How Corn Roots Got Better by Accident, traditional plant breeding has also made roots better at taking up nitrogen, though more research is need to understand the mechanisms.

Here are some key points from the article:

MaizeRootStudy SimRoot

Image: Courtesy of Larry York

Using a Penn State-developed computer program called SimRoot, researchers modeled the average root architecture of modern corn hybrids (shown) to help compare it to that of older varieties.

“About half of the yield gains in commercial corn hybrids in the last 100 years have come from improved plant genetics, explains Larry York, recent PhD graduate in ecology, now a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Nottingham. The other half came largely from agronomic practices, such as fertilizer use and higher planting densities.”

“A lot of research has focused on the shoots of maize plants, such as the direction of the leaves and how they capture light, or how the plants divide matter into ears and kernels,” York says. “We all know roots are responsible for the uptake of water and nutrients. However, relatively little is known about how roots do that.

“If we understand how roots have evolved and which specific root traits increase the plant’s efficiency, then we can take the next step in breeding that can help decrease pollution, save farmers money and make more yield.”

“Not only can crop varieties with improved root systems increase yields and reduce hunger in impoverished regions of the world with nutrient-poor soils, they also can decrease excess nitrogen where water quality is a critical issue, such as in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.”

"The researchers hypothesized that during a century of corn breeding aimed at increasing yields, root systems were indirectly selected for architecture and anatomy that are more efficient for nitrogen acquisition."

"The researchers found that the newest commercial varieties performed better in every agronomic environment. These varieties also had root characteristics known from previous Penn State research to make plants more efficient at acquiring nitrogen from the soil, including fewer nodal roots, longer lateral roots, and larger cortical cells. They published their results online in the Journal of Experimental Botany."

Source: Penn State via Futurity.org 

 

 

The Blogronomist is maintained by Craig Dick, head blogronomist and VP of Sales and Marketing. Here you will find a wide array of blog articles from Craig and expert guests on topics related to soil and crop health, farming, and so much more. If it’s not here, ask us!

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More sulfur updates...

While reading the 2012 Annual Farm Progress Reports from Iowa State University’s Northern Research Farm in Kanawha, IA, we discovered another trial investigating sulfur fertilization via gypsum on corn. The impetus for the study was the same as the Iowa Soybean Association’s; sulfur deficiencies are becoming widespread in both corn and alfalfa in Iowa and many other midwestern states. The experiment was performed by Dr. John Sawyer and David Rueber of Iowa State University.

Four rates of sulfur (5, 10, 20, 40 lbs/A) were applied to two different soils—one with low organic matter and a slope, and one with higher OM and less slope—as was a non-treated control (no sulfur) to compare differences throughout 2011 and 2012. These rates were applied to corn in 2011 and soybeans in 2012. The 2011 plots were planted to corn after soybean in 2011 and planted to corn again in 2012 to test residual effects of sulfur application. In 2012, additional plots were planted to soybean from corn the previous year.  

In June 2011, corn leaf greenness was visibly different among plots that had sulfur applied vs. those that did not, as well as having taller plants. By late June, there was still a height difference but the color differences were diminished. Despite visual differences, there was no difference in yield between the treated and non-treated pltos.

This is where it gets interesting… 

In 2012, the plots that had received sulfur in 2011 showed no visible differences from those that did not, unlike the differences in 2011. However, when harvest time came, there was an increase in corn yield for sulfur treated plots as a whole when averaged and compared against the non-treated control plots. So, there’s something happening with the sulfur in the soil from year to year that isn’t being accounted for that has increased corn yield as a residual effect. This is similar to what we saw with the Iowa Soybean Association On-Farm Network trials over the last few years; residual activity from sulfur application making a yield difference a year after we thought it would.

Soybeans did not show any statistically different response to the sulfur application in 2012.

This study will continue in 2013 and we are excited to see the results.

 

Yield Starts Here is a blog for farmers, focusing on increasing yield and profitability by focusing on the soil. It is managed by Craig Dick, a Blogronomist and Sales and Marketing Manager at Calcium Products. Find other articles by Cr

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Something to NOT talk about today on valentine's day...

For those of you that somehow missed it, today is Valentine’s day. Did you get your special someone a token of your love? Maybe a card, flowers, chocolate or perfume?

Speaking of perfume, did you know that corn plants use perfume to woo beneficial growth-promoting microbes to live among their roots? These bacteria can make iron and phosphorus more available to plants and stop harmful bacteria. Very cool!

So tonight, pull that someone special close and whatever you do, DO NOT tell your Valentine about corn perfume. Just forget about corn plants for an evening, it's Valentine’s day!

 

 

Yield Starts Here is a blog for farmers, focusing on increasing yield and profitability by focusing on the soil. It is managed by Craig Dick, the blogronomist and VP of sales and marketing at Calcium Products. Find other articles by Craig and guest writers at blog.calciumproducts.com.

 

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This Isn't Rocket Science

 

Last week I had the opportunity to discuss crop production with Internationally known crop consultant Gary Zimmer. As we talked about a number of things, Gary said “You know this isn’t  rocket science. This is way harder! You can’t just plug numbers into a computer and get an answer.”  
 
Gary continued, “Farming is more than physics, its chemistry, biology, and much, much more. You are dealing with living things that almost never do what you expect them to!”
 
The more I think about it the more I think he is right. Launching rockets into space is a pretty regular thing these days. They do it every week, in fact in 2010 there were 74 launches
 
In 2010 only 1/10 that many, or seven corn farmers grew more than 300 bu of corn in the NCGA yield contest. That was out of 7125 applicants!
 
So next time someone says they can help you grow high yield corn ask them, “Are you smarter than a rocket scientist?”
 
Yield Starts Here is a blog for farmers, focusing on increasing yield and profitability by focusing on the soil. It is managed by Craig Dick, a Blogronomist and Sales and Marketing Manager at Calcium Products. Find other articles by Craig and guest writers at http://blog.calciumproducts.com/ .
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FSF - High as an Elephants Eye

  

 

 

 

 

 

THE CORN IS AS HIGH AS AN ELEPHANTS EYE

Meaning: The corn is really tall

Origin: Originally from lyrics in Rogers and Hammerstein’s song Oh What a Beautiful Morning, from the musical Oklahoma.

So where did “knee high by fourth of July or the addition “by the fourth of July” come from?

From what I can find, back in the days of 40 bushel corn, knee high by the fourth of July was the goal, now you are doing something wrong if it not starting to tassel by July in the southern corn belt.

The addition of “buy the 4th of July” to “High as an Elephants Eye” likely has more to do with it rhyming well than an actual reason.

 

http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/lyrics/ohwhata.htm

Happy Independence Day!

 

 

Farm Sayings Friday is weekly feature of Yield Starts Here. You might think your grandparents made it up, but that old saying likely goes back many years. In this feature we will figure out who said it first and what it really means! Do you have a well used saying in your family, send to us and we'll feature it in a future blog.
 
Yield Starts Here is a blog for farmers, focusing on increasing yield and profitability by focusing on the soil. It is managed by Craig Dick, a Blogronomist and Sales and Marketing Manager at Calcium Products. Find other articles by Craig and guest writers at http://blog.calciumproducts.com/ .

 

 

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Boron, Micronutrient - Macro Benefit

The details are always hardest to manage. It’s getting the small things right that determine whether we are successful or not. While it is important to have  proper soil pH and available calcium. Many farmers overlook the small details; like understanding that micronutrients are the catalysts for big yield gains. Boron is the catalyst that makes calcium, nitrogen, magnesium, phosphorus, carbon, and potassium more available to your crop.

Only a few of Earth's naturally occurring chemical elements make up living matter. Just six of them; carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous and sulfur, make up for 99% of all living tissues. Nevertheless, other minerals or trace elements are crucial for all vital functions even if this may be in extremely low dosages. Some of these, such as iron, copper, cobalt, zinc or manganese, are required by all living forms. Boron is one of those crucial elements, proven essential for the structure of plants.

Any soil test you conduct should be a complete soil test such as Midwest Labs S3C test. That test includes, base saturation, including sodium, and a full micronutrient package. In many of the tests we look at, we see more and more test coming back with very low boron readings. Boron has been much overlooked in the past, but many are discovering the benefits of this micronutrient.

Boron Function

Adequate boron nutrition is critical for high yields and quality crops. The main functions of boron relate to cell wall strength and development, cell division, fruit and seed development, sugar transport, and hormone development. Boron affects sugar transport in plants, flower retention, pollen formation, and germination. Boron is needed in protein synthesis and is associated with increased cellular activity that promotes maturity, increases flower set, and fruit yield and quality. Boron also affects nitrogen and carbohydrate metabolism and water and sap flow in the plant.

Photosynthesis transforms sunlight energy into plant energy compounds such as sugars. For photosynthesis to continue, the sugars must be moved away from the site where they are made and stored or used to make other compounds. Boron increases the rate of transport of sugars to actively growing regions and to developing fruit (grain). Boron is essential for providing sugars which are needed for root growth in all plants and also for normal development of root nodules in legumes such as alfalfa, soybeans and peanuts.

Since boron is non-mobile in plants (like calcium), a continuous supply from the soil is required in all plant growing points. In mineral soils, release of boron is usually quite slow. Much of the available soil boron is held rather tightly by soil organic material. As organic matter decomposition occurs, boron is released with a portion being absorbed by plants, some leaching below the root zone area (especially in acid soil), or tied up under alkaline soil conditions.

Boron Deficiency and Excess

Boron deficiencies are found in acid soil, sandy soils, soils with low organic matter, and in regions of high rainfall. Borate ions (soluble boron) are mobile in soil and can be leached from the root zone. Boron availability also decreases on heavy clay and high pH soils. Soils with a high pH (at 7.5 pH boron becomes fixed) or which have just been heavily limed, have a limited amount of boron available for plant growth. Boron deficiencies are more pronounced during drought periods when root activity is restricted.

 

 

The Blogronomist is maintained by Craig Dick, head blogronomist and VP of Sales and Marketing. Here you will find a wide array of blog articles from Craig and expert guests on topics related to soil and crop health, farming, and so much more. If it’s not here, ask us!

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Iowa soil short of nutrients after all

For years our customers have told us that they are growing better corn and beans than ever with our products. Was it the calcium or the sulfur, or something else? For years Iowa State has told us that Iowa soils have enough calcium and sulfur, well calcium anyway. In the newest research they have found corn does respond to applied sulfur, 82% of the time.

Summary from: Evaluation of Corn Response to Sulfur Fertilization in Northeast Iowa, John Sawyer

Corn grain yield increase to S fertilization has occurred with high frequency in these studies. Also, the magnitude of yield increase has been large. Across the two years and three studies, 82% of the sites had a statistically significant yield increase to applied S fertilizer. By study, statistically significant across-site yield increases averaged 15, 18, and 38 bu/acre. Analyzed across S rate, the economic optimum S rate was 14 lb S/acre for fine-textured soils and 24 lb S/acre for coarse-textured soils. This research indicates a dramatic change in need for S fertilization in northeast Iowa, and that S application is an economically viable fertilization practice on many soils.

Read the whole article here.

In case you've never used sulfur products their price is rising along with other inputs. Many dealers have reported not being able to source enough sulfur. Fortunately since SuperCal SO4 is made in Iowa from a natural mined source, its price has not risen as dramatically as other sulfur products. In fact using SuperCal SO4 in bulk at the universities recommendations will cost you $7.50 to $10.50 per acre, quite a bit cheaper than other products on the market.

While we have been sold out for over a year we have just finished our plant expansion and should be able to meet demand for the coming years. As an added bonus, SuperCal SO4 doesn’t cause soil acidity like ammonium sulfate, thiosulfate, or elemental sulfur does. Though we do sell lime is you want to add more cost to your fertilizer bill!

The Blogronomist is maintained by Craig Dick, head blogronomist and VP of Sales and Marketing. Here you will find a wide array of blog articles from Craig and expert guests on topics related to soil and crop health, farming, and so much more. If it’s not here, ask us!

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Fertility is key, but not exciting

I was reading an article from the Corn and Soybean Digest entitled “Yield Contest Winner Provides Last-Minute Corn Growing Tips”. I found one sentence particularly interesting, “Everything has to be managed exactly right,” he says. “Fertility is the key, but I experiment all the time to find out what works best for my area.”

The reason it is interesting is because it is the only sentence in the whole article about fertility. I find it extremely curious that every article about NCGA winners talks about what seed type they use, what seed treatment and/or insecticide is used, and the herbicide and fungicides.

In almost every article about NCGA winners you are lucky to find 2 or 3 sentences about the fertility of the farm.

Since the champion growers are planting the same corn, at the same populations, with the same seed treatments herbicides and fungicides as almost every farmer uses, why doesn’t everyone grow 250+ bushel corn?

Proper fertility is hard work, results are hard to measure, and it’s not as exciting as “I applied product x and I grew 20 more bushels of corn!” Why do some genetics result in record yields in some fields and the same genetics in your field falls down? Soil quality and fertility might just have something to do with it.

 

 

The Blogronomist is maintained by Craig Dick, head blogronomist and VP of Sales and Marketing. Here you will find a wide array of blog articles from Craig and expert guests on topics related to soil and crop health, farming, and so much more. If it’s not here, ask us!
 

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