It has been over a decade since the discovery of how plants take up and re-translocate silica (Si), one of the most abundant elements on earth. Further focus on the element has revealed that it plays an important role in alleviating the effects of biotic and abiotic stress; however, still much remains to be understood.
Like humans, plants require certain key nutrients to grow well, develop, reproduce and remain healthy. The performance of a crop in the field depends on the genetic makeup of the variety grown, fertility and pesticides programs, and interaction with the environment.
The elements required by plants and obtained from soil and/or fertilizers encompass major nutrients (aka macronutrients), secondary nutrients, and micronutrients (aka trace elements). The qualification of major and minor nutrients comes from the relative abundance and requirement for various functions in plants.
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.