High Performance Plant Nutrition at Work

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High Performance Plant Nutrition at Work

Spray Water Quality: Hard Water vs Soft Water

Spray Water Quality: Hard Water vs Soft Water

Have you ever wondered if you have hard or soft water? Perhaps you’ve heard or been a part of a conversation regarding water being hard or soft and wondered what exactly that means. You may have also noticed scaling and deposits left by hard water on the interior or exterior of plumbing and pipes. Maybe this didn’t bother you because, after all, water is water, isn’t it? But, consider this — what if the water quality that affects your drinking and shower water also makes a difference in the chemistry of what you are spraying on your crops?

The Basics

Water in its natural form doesn’t contain any minerals and is considered “soft.” However, when it contains a high concentration of dissolved minerals, especially calcium (carbonate) and magnesium, it becomes “hard.” Water often picks up these minerals when passing through materials such as limestone. Calcium and magnesium also increase the pH of the water, with magnesium having twice as much impact as calcium.

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Primers in Action

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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Product Spotlight: Primers

Product Spotlight: Primers

Harvesting more bushels on the same acreage over the years leads to a diminishing reserve of essential nutrients in the soil and to a lower nutrient density in the seed. Once grasslands, Western Canadian Prairie soils have been converted to agriculture, used for high value crops such as cereals, canola, pulses, potatoes and others. Crop removal keeps increasing while replenishment remains the same or diminished, due to a variety of factors, such as tighter rotations, tighter budgets and slow mineralisation. It is no surprise to see sluggish crops struggling for emergence and establishment early in the spring.

To remediate the lack of essential nutrients in the seed, seed dressings, also known as Primers®, were developed back in the early 2000s to provide the seed with enough nutrients to carry it through until the root systems can develop and tap into the side-banded fertilizer. Most Primers were formulated with a phosphorus, potassium and zinc base – nutrients not readily available to the crop at seeding due to cold and/or wet conditions.

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Prepping for the Season: Thinking About Plant Nutrition

Prepping for the Season: Thinking About Plant Nutrition

As we inch closer to the first days of seeding, producers across Western Canada continue to think through critical decisions that may make or break the growing season.

Plant nutrition is one of the single greatest factors in the success of developing plants, with the first 30 days of a crop’s growth being crucial for attaining its full yield potential. Missed opportunities due to lack of nutrition in these first 30 days can lead to reduced yields and delay the onset of plant maturity.

Developing plants first feed on the nutrients that are inherent in the seed. Growing in deficient soils or under stress conditions, seeds often have a lower seed nutrient density. Providing high performance nutrition by dressing the seed coat with a primer will give crops an additional kick of nutrients to balance its nutrient density and maximize yields. Priming a seed with nutrition before seeding helps with germination and early root development, giving the crop the best chance to grow to its full potential despite early season challenges like the cold and wet soils that much of Western Canada is facing this year.

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