Calcium Products - Displaying items by tag: roots

Calcium Products - Displaying items by tag: roots

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!

Read more...

Compaction

Lots of rain last fall, long periods of snow cover reducing soil freezing, the potential for excessive spring moisture due to melting snow, Elwynn Taylor istelling us we are in the 19th year. What do they have to do with each other, extra compaction compounded by the threat of drought.

Causes of Compaction:  

Raindrop impact - This is certainly a natural cause of compaction, and we see it as a soil crust (usually less than 1/2 inch thick at the soil surface) that may prevent seedling emergence. Having optimum amounts organic matter and calcium can alleviate crusting.

Tillage operations - Continuous moldboard plowing or disking at the same depth will cause serious tillage pans (compacted layers) just below the depth of tillage in some soils. Corn roots have a penetrating force of 350-400 lbs/sq in. Alfalfa roots can exert up 700 lbs/sq in. Many tillage compaction layers can exceed 750 lbs /sq in of force to penetrate.

Wheel traffic - This is without a doubt the major cause of soil compaction. With increasing farm size, the window of time in which to get these operations done in a timely manner is often limited. The weight of tractors has increased to 20 tons today, from less than 3 tons in the 1940's. This is of special concern because spring planting and fall harvest is often done before the soil is dry enough to support the heavy equipment.

Minimal Crop Rotation - The trend towards a limited crop rotation has had two effects: 1.) Limiting different rooting systems and their beneficial effects on breaking subsoil compaction, and 2.) Increased potential for compaction early in the cropping season, due to more tillage activity and field traffic.

A farmer in Minnesota that has been using SuperCal SO4 and deep tillage for a number of years has reported that his end rows are now higher yielding the middle section. I have recommended that he till half and not use SO4 on that half, use SO4 and not till on the other half. Since SuperCal SO4 “chemically” loosens the soil, and adds soluble calcium and sulfur, I expect higher return on the acres that receive SO4.

A little compaction is good, as it speeds the rate of seed germination because it promotes good contact between the seed and soil. Corn planters have been designed specifically to provide moderate compaction with planter mounted packer wheels that follow seed placement. Too little seed to soil contact can result in rootless corn syndrome.

Soil bulk density is a measure of the weight of the soil per unit volume. The greater the weight of a substance needed to fill up a certain amount of space the greater the density. The more air in a given space the lower the density. Think of a pound of feathers and a pound or rock. They weigh the same but the feathers will take up a lot more space (volume) than the rocks.

While soil bulk density is rarely measured it has a major impact on root growth.

Compacted soils have a very high bulk density reducing root growth. Soil compaction in the surface layer can increase runoff, increasing soil and water losses. SuperCal SO4 provides valuable calcium and sulfur increasing organic matter, and soil oxygen reducing bulk density. This increases water infiltration, and root proliferation, allowing your crop to access more water and nutrients

We can't control the weather, we can reduce the impact through proper soil quality!

 

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!   

Read more...

New findings about how plants function

From: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081017150732.htm

When Under Attack, Plants Can Signal Microbial Friends For Help

The finding quashes the misperception that plants are “sitting ducks”--at the mercy of passing pathogens--and sheds new light on a sophisticated signaling system inside plants that rivals the nervous system in humans and animals.

and From: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041005075521.htm

How Roots Control Plant Shoots: Biologists Discover Gene That Helps Roots Limit Leaf Growth

University of Utah biologists discovered a gene that allows a plant's roots to tell the leaves to stop growing, presumably when water is scarce, soil is too compacted or other conditions are bad.

I found these two article very interesting, but what does that mean to a corn and soybean farmer? To grow higher yielding crops we really must focus more on the soil. These means much more than just N-P and K, it means making sure that the 20 nutirents for growth are available, that you do not have a hard pan, that the soil drains properly, has a good soil density so that benificial bacteria and biology can thrive to help you crops grow better.

We've been helping farmers develop better soil quality for over 10 years, SuperCal 98G and SuperCal SO4 is a good start... once you've taken proper soil samples. Contact one of our dealers or give us a call, now is the perfect time to get started making better soil!

 

 

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!

Read more...
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