Published June 18, 2010 | By admin
Rains, sunshine, soils are warming up, fertility is in the ground, some of you have sprayed at least once and others of you are cultivating or ditching your corn for the 2010 crop year. Have you considered what is happening below that soil surface to develop the best corn crop?
Here at Orthman Research Farm, Mike Petersen our Agronomist is on a mission, he is out there in the fields digging and washing roots to gauge the development of the hybrids he selected to relate the effectiveness of the strip-tillage practice. So far he has looked at just over 30 plots and he is 1/3rd done for the first set of observations. Mike is measuring the number of roots on the first through fourth nodes, depth of roots, plant dimensions, leaf stage, and plant density within rows.
What has he found? We asked that question this morning and Mike paused for a second and said that the roots after all the rains are still fairly shallow but staged to go deep. Anything else? He said folks ought to be looking for node number 4 and 5, if they are developing well and reaching out. Those that planted in late April and first week or so of May should be seeing nodes 1 thru 5 developed and extending. It is important to note that getting the maximum number of roots on each node below the surface can mean more water/nutrient uptake, sugar movement up and down the plants xylem and phloem cells.
Mike is finding in the strip-till plots in the better developed corn plants 30 to 32 roots on nodes 1 through 3 and 2 to 8 roots on node 4 with more to come. He says corn has the potential on nodes 2, 3, 4, 5 of developing 48-52 roots. That is one mass of roots.
How does this compare to the Direct Seeded corn? Unfortunately the corn plants are not as far along due to the colder and wetter soil conditions. The plants are 3 to 7 inches shorter, V6 to V7 leaf stage and finding node 3 roots developing. Yes they will catch up he says, however right now corn planted late April to early May should be setting roots on node 5. Corn here at the Orthman Farm got planted May 6th – May 13th due to slow downs with intermittent rain showers.