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The Weather Network has just released their three-month summer forecast and it looks like it’ll be another interesting season – from hotter temperatures in B.C., to cooler temperatures in Ontario and Quebec, and a mixed bag across the Prairies. After a spring that can best be described as reluctant, here in Saskatchewan we should expect to see temps in the normal range (hot), with normal to below normal moisture (dry) – the perfect recipe for heat stress.

No matter what you just put into the ground, if you are on the Prairies, this post is for you. Read on to find out how OMEX can help you beat the heat this summer.

It’s hard to imagine that in just a few weeks we’ll be thinking about heat stress, but that’s the Prairies for you! All crops can be sensitive to heat stress, especially during the flowering stage. Even short periods of heat stress during flowering and grain fill can cause substantial yield losses.

Flowering, one of the most important stages in a crop’s life cycle, often happens during the hottest days of summer. As the plant is shifting the bulk of its energy production to flowering, it must also contend with stress brought on by high temperatures. The resulting water loss at the peak of evapotranspiration forces stomata to close, jeopardizing nutrients and water uptake.

In canola, heat stress can cause a condition called heat blast (aka pod abortion), characterized by a higher than usual number of aborted flowers, causing blanks on the stem, and flowers with shortened stamens, which do not produce pods. In cereals, heat stress causes poor grain filling.

During periods of heat stress, it is especially important to pay attention to boron (B) – a micronutrient that is critical to pollen tube growth and the germination of pollen grains and fertilization, helping to ensure good grain fill and yield. Because it is immobile in the plant, boron cannot be stripped from leaves to meet the increasing demand by the flowers.

Although a plant’s boron requirements are relatively low compared to other micronutrients, it’s important to maintain an adequate level throughout the crop’s life cycle, supplementing as necessary during the reproductive stage, when plants have an increased need for B.

Timed correctly, a readily-available supply of boron can optimize pollination for better seed fertilization and development, reducing plant-stress and protecting yield.

OMEX Has the Solution

Applied during the flowering stage, a liquid foliar fertilizer such as Super B or KB78, both with a high analysis of boron, can help to promote pollen formation and fertilization and relieve heat blast.

Formulated to reduce the point of deliquescence for improved uptake during hot, dry conditions, Super B (10% B) and KB78 (8% B) both provide boric acid, the most available form of boron. KB78 also contains potassium (7% K) to mitigate K deficiency, a common occurrence during hot weather.

Talk to Your Rep

As crops start to emerge, now is the time to start thinking about how to keep your cool when summer takes hold. Talk to your OMEX sales representative or retailer for more information on how to incorporate stress-relieving boron into your nutrient management strategy.