CEO and R&D Director at OMEX Canada

Biostimulants: PGRs and PGSs

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Plant growth regulators (PGRs) and plant growth stimulators (PGSs) are naturally-occurring or synthetic compounds that, when applied to plants, modify their physiological processes, and growth and development habits. In plant cells, they stimulate specific enzymes or pathways and help regulate metabolism.

The term “PGR” is widely used in Western Canada to refer to products that are sprayed on wheat to shorten the height of the crop, while PGSs are designed to be incorporated into a well-balanced nutrition program to achieve a better uptake of nutrients, enhanced growth and development, better seed, fruit or tuber set, improved crop standability and more. Producers looking to preserve yield and profitability are encouraged to take a closer look at PGSs.

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Getting to the Root of the Problem

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Photo credit: Chatterton et al., 2017

Root rot and clubroot are two serious diseases which can, at best, cause yield losses and, at worst, cause premature plant death. While clubroot is a disease solely affecting brassica crops, such as canola, root rot can take hold in cereals, pulses, canola and other field crops when conditions are right and pathogens present.

Managing these diseases can be challenging and require a multi-pronged approach that includes planting disease-resistant seed, longer crop rotations, fungicide application and vigilant scouting. OMEX has a wide range of products that can be used concurrently with your root rot and clubroot management tactics to promote robust, healthy roots, mitigate plant stress and correct nutrient deficiencies throughout the growing season.

The image on the right shows the difference in early-season growth and development between a root rot-infect plant (left) and a healthy plant (right).

Let’s get to the root of the problem, shall we?

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Dealing with Acidic Soils

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Soil pH is a key factor in farmland as it controls availability of nutrients, microbial activity and crop productivity. Before delving into what causes soils to become acid and the steps to take to treat and correct acidic soil, we must first establish what is considered an optimal pH for crop production.

For most prairie crops, a soil pH range of 6.0 to 8.0 is suitable for optimal growth and development. Soils with pH ranging from 5.6 to 6.0 are considered moderately acid, while strongly acid and very strongly acidic soils have pH ranging from 5.1-5.5 to <5.0, respectively. Crops have difficulty establishing and show a decline in productivity and yield in soils with a pH below 6.0.

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Fighting Salinity and Sodicity Effects with a Nutritional Approach

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Soil salinity can occur naturally or be caused by human activity – continuously irrigating with water that has a high salt concentration, for example. While some crops are tolerant to saline soils, high concentrations of some salts can be toxic to others. Salinity can also affect a plant’s uptake of water and absorption of nutrients.

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the causes and consequences of salinity and sodicity, and how producers can take a nutritional approach to lower the impact on their crops.

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Calcium: The Brick of It All

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Calcium (Ca) is the backbone of every living organism, including plants. Although a plant’s needs for calcium can be as high as its needs for nitrogen and potassium, it is classified as a secondary nutrient. In this post, we examine the importance of calcium and the factors that can limit its availability to plants.

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