Wet Weather Woes for Root Strength
Whilst some crops have been entirely lost to extensive flooding, the greatest overall yield losses is likely to be the vast majority of crops that have suffered in the anaerobic conditions created by waterlogging. The loss of root mass now will limit the plant’s ability to take up nutrients and support spring growth, as well as make plants more susceptible to drought conditions later in the season.
Most crop lodging at harvest is now most likely to be a result of poor root anchorage, warned Syngenta Technical Manager, Jason Tatnell. “Using Moddus as an early PGR promotes root growth and anchorage, along with shortening height and encouraging a more efficient compact plant."
“Trials have shown a 40% increase in root length density at 30cm depth from Moddus application at growth stage 30,” reported Mr Tatnell. “Increased rooting has demonstrated a greater uptake of nutrients, and up to two weeks longer tolerance to drought stress in the summer.”
Early application of Moddus at the T0 timing gives more chance for plants to repair root structures and replace lost root hairs that are most efficient at taking up water and nutrients. Root development will continue through to flag-leaf emergence in good soil conditions.
He highlighted that encouraging rooting is even more important on current wheat varieties, many of which now have an inherently lower rooting capability, coupled to changes in establishment techniques and weather patterns. Mr Tatnell believed that an increase in rooting and physiological enhancement of the plant could be the key reasons why Moddus treated crops yield better than untreated.
The new Moddus Variety App is now available to download that will give growers and agronomists up to date advice on bespoke PGR programs for all leading wheat varieties. The App uses independent assessment of varietal strengths and weaknesses, calculated by researchers at Harper Adams University College, to indicate potential risks, which can be tailored to individual field situations for the 2016 season.
In addition to Moddus application Mr Tatnell urged growers to assess and adapt planned fertiliser applications for the coming season. “The extreme rain and wet conditions may require a rethink in the split timing and rates of fertiliser application,” he advised, “but in all cases improved rooting will enable plants to make best use of what is available or applied.
“There is still good opportunity for growers and agronomists to make s significant difference in the crop’s ability to recover, and to keep it standing through to harvest.”