2019 marks the 350th anniversary of Henning Brand’s discovery of phosphorus, making this the perfect opportunity to reflect on our relationship with the element: what was our farming like without it, how did it change our current farming practices and how should we manage it to preserve its sustainability?
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.
One of the realities of farming on the Prairies is having to deal with intense and often unpredictable weather, including hail.
On average, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta see more severe thunderstorms and hailstorms than any other region in Canada. During peak hail season – the warm months of June through September – Prairie farmers will see approximately 130 hailstorms that are significant enough to do damage in the field. According to the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC), 2017 saw the highest hail claims in years.
Phosphorus (P) is a primary (macro) nutrient needed for plant development and growth throughout the entire life cycle – from seedling to maturity.
A macronutrient, phosphorus is necessary for cell formation and division, and plays a key role in photosynthesis and energy transfer in the plant. Phosphorus also stimulates root development and improves plant strength, seed production and overall quality.
Potassium (K) is a primary (macro) nutrient that functions as a regulator within a plant’s cells, improving the overall quality and resilience of the crop.
Potassium aids in photosynthesis and the functioning of chlorophyll; helps form and translocate starches, sugars and fats; and supports enzyme actions and the formation of proteins.