High Performance Plant Nutrition at Work

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Reducing Heat Stress with Boron

Hot conditions in the prairies often coincide with crops gearing up for flowering. During this reproductive stage, the crop has an increasing demand for boron. Unfortunately, boron is immobile in the plant and cannot be stripped from vegetative tissues to fulfill the transient peak of demand of the flowers.

Boron is a key nutrient to successful pollination. When the conditions become hot and dry or hot with a high level of relative humidity, boron translocation becomes jeopardized. This can lead to a poor extension of the pollen tubes resulting in misses in the pods. We often hear about ‘heat blast’ or ‘pod abortion’, which a direct consequence of boron shortage at flowering time. Heat also shortens the flowering period and affect the activity of the pollinators

So, what can you do? Beat the heat with boron!

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Water quality and burn-off or in-season spraying

Water chemistry plays a large part in getting maximum efficacy from your herbicides during pre-season burn-off or in-season spraying. Tank mixing herbicides with hard water that has high pH levels can reduce their effectiveness, which can ultimately lead to less weed control and loss of yields.

The water from wells and dug-outs that’s often used on the farm is usually hard water. Testing for water hardness and pH level is a good place to start, and there’s a good chance the test will reveal it isn’t as soft as you’d like it to be.

Water hardness is measured in parts per million (ppm). Test results from 100–200 ppm indicate hard water, with anything over 160 ppm being very hard. The pH level of water for crop spraying shouldn’t exceed 7 on the pH scale. When the test reveals hard water and/or high pH levels, I always recommend a water conditioner to soften the water and lower its pH to make it more suitable for crop spraying.

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Primers in Action

In spring of 2015, growers Connie Matson and Bernie Hullman were getting a late start to their canola seeding (May 19) and dealing with very dry conditions. I had the opportunity to work with them on a nutrient plan to get their canola crop off to the best possible start under those less than ideal conditions. As part of the nutrient plan, I recommended Primer Canola. With the help of Primer Canola, Matson said it wasn’t long before robust canola seedlings were emerging in their field.

A photo comparison of two neighbouring crops, one untreated and one treated with OMEX Primer Canola. Matson and Hullman's canola crop (right) emerged far quicker than neighbouring fields

Matson said that by June 15, their canola had caught up with their neighbours’ crops that were planted a week to 10 days earlier. According to Matson, they saw impressive root development of their canola crop. She says that their crop’s roots grew deeper into the ground than their neighbour’s crops, an achievement she credits to their use of Primer Canola.

Primer Canola includes high concentrations of phosphorus, potassium, zinc and other essential micronutrients specifically formulated for canola. Our research has shown that this combination can have a very positive effect on canola germination and emergence.

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