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Calcium Products

Calcium Products

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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Windbreaks Increase Yields

If you want great soil quality, you have to make sure the soil stays in your field.

Windbreak 1024x732

While wind erosion has declined in the last 20 years, recent land values, adoption of no-till, larger farm equipment, and aging windbreak plantings have led to the removal of windbreak. It may surprise many growers that windbreaks offer an overall yield increase.

A worldwide study found that within the protected zone of the windbreak, spring wheat yields increased an average of 8%, corn by 12%, soybeans by 13%, and winter wheat by 23%.

You can learn more by reading the article A Break for Higher Yields found in the Furrow.

 

 

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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What is soil quality?

We have always talked about the importance of soil quality. Improving soil quality is the number one thing you can do to improve yields on your farm.

What is it that we are talking about when we say "Soil Quality"?

At soilquality.org they have a couple of definitions.

"Fitness for use" (Larson and Pierce, 1991) and "the capacity of a soil to function” (Karlen et al., 1997). Taken together, these two definitions means that soil quality is the ability of the soil to perform the functions necessary for its intended use.

and

Probably the most comprehensive definition of soil quality to date was published by the Soil Science Society of America's Ad Hoc Committee on Soil Quality (S-581) as "the capacity of a specific kind of soil to function, within natural or managed ecosystem boundaries, to sustain plant and animal productivity, maintain or enhance water and air quality, and support human health and habitation" (Karlen et al., 1997).

 

In our own words - Soil quality is the ability of a soil to function properly.

 

The soil needs to perform 5 essential functions properly to be considered a quality soil.

Nutrient Cycling - Soil stores, moderates the release of, and cycles nutrients and other elements. During these biogeochemical processes, analogous to the water cycle, nutrients can be transformed into plant available forms, held in the soil, or even lost to air or water.

Water Relations - Soil can regulate the drainage, flow and storage of water and solutes, which includes nitrogen, phosphorus, pesticides, and other nutrients and compounds dissolved in the water. With proper functioning, soil partitions water for groundwater recharge and for use by plants and soil animals.

Biodiversity and Habitat - Soil supports the growth of a variety of plants, animals, and soil microorganisms, usually by providing a diverse physical, chemical, and biological habitat.

Filtering and Buffering - Soil acts as a filter to protect the quality of water, air, and other resources. Toxic compounds or excess nutrients can be degraded or otherwise made unavailable to plants and animals.

Physical Stability and Support - Soil has the ability to maintain its porous structure to allow passage of air and water, withstand erosive forces, and provide a medium for plant roots. Soils also provide anchoring support for human structures and protect archeological treasures.

We will walk you through these functions in future articles!

You can learn more at www.soilquality.org.  The website is a collaboration between the NRCS East National Technology Support Center, NRCS National Soil Survey Center, ARS National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, NCERA-59 Scientists, and Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

 

 

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...
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