CEO and R&D Director at OMEX Canada

Beat It: Mitigating the Impact of Heat on Flowering Using Foliar Boron

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You don’t need to check the calendar to know that summer has arrived. Heading into the long weekend, temps across the Prairies are in the mid-20s to low 30s and, according to the latest forecast, it looks like the heat and humidity will be sticking around. Before you lose your cool, read on.

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Don’t Get Caught with Your Plants Down: The Solution for Crop Lodging

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Lodging occurs when the crop falls over and does not return to a standing position. Crop lodging can be very costly to producers and can pose many challenges during harvest. For instance, it is common to see secondary growth on the flattened crop extending maturity and diminishing grain quality.

For the past couple of years, harvest in some parts of the Prairies has been interrupted by heavy snow fall, leaving millions of acres for producers to deal with in the spring. If you’re a grower who has been in this situation, you know that a lodged crop can take twice as many resources to harvest than a standing one.

Not only is it a challenge to take off the field, a lodged crop can have a significant reduction in value. If the crop lodges at ear emergence, yields can be reduced by up to 75 per cent. Although later lodging has less effect on yield, it can impact grain quality, harvest speeds and drying costs.

Continue reading to learn more about crop lodging and what can be done to avoid it, so you are not caught with your plants down.

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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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