Excess Water Can Affect the Genetic Yield of the Crop

The 2014 growing season is proving to be another year of difficult weather patterns, with excess moisture plaguing the Prairies.

Written on 05/31/14

The 2014 growing season is proving to be another year of difficult weather patterns, with excess moisture plaguing the Prairies. As we all know, excess moisture puts the plant under significant physiological stress, ultimately affecting the genetic yield of the crop. 

Figure 1. Water Logged Fields. Inset: Water Logged Wheat (left) Compared to Healthy Wheat (right).

What Happens When the Plant Receives Excess Water?

# 1) Roots Lack Oxygen; During times of excess water, the plants roots will be lacking oxygen in the root zone.

# 2) Root Growth is Stunted; The root system will stop growing and there will be no new root hairs being produced. It is critical for there to be active root hair growth for optimum nutrient uptake.

# 3) Nutrients Become Unavailable; The soil microbial population must access oxygen to survive. As a result, the microorganisms will target 3 nutrients to meet their oxygen requirements; Nitrogren, Manganese, and Sulphur. The first "oxygen source" is nitrate (N03-) nitrogen, followed by Manganese (Mn04) and finally sulphate (s04-) Sulphur. The end result is that these 3 nutrients will be lost or become unavailable resulting in a nutrients imbalance by the plant. This biochemical process is called "oxidation reduction".

# 4) The Plant Stops Generating Photosynthesis; With nutrient uptake being significantly limited and the plant "shutting down" it will not be generating ATP and its various sugars and metabolites for optimum plant growth. The end result is the plant will start to turn yellow and look weak.

#5) Possibility for Both Root and Leaf Diseases Increases; When you combine the above 4 points, the plant becomes very susceptible to both root and leaf diseases, through both the lack and improper development of roots and shoots.

Goals for the Plant When the Soil Dries

A plant affected by excess moisture will look yellow, sick and have a limited and unhealthy root system. The most common mistake made is to apply Nitrogen alone, to make the above-ground portion of the plant turn green and "look good" -  but in fact, this is actually the worst thing you could do for your crop.

The # 1) Priority: Have the Plant Generate Photosynthesis; It is critical to supply the proper balance of nutrients to the leaf, so that the plant can start generating photosynthesis and energy for itself. These critical nutrients include P, K, Mn, Zn, and to a lesser degree, N.

# 2) Develop a Healthy Active Root System; Active photosynthesis will now allow the plant to move the necessary sugars and amino acids down to the roots so that they can grow and access nutrients from the soil system.

# 3) Improve the Plants Root to Shoot Ratio; We need to ensure that all new vegetative growth is balanced with active root growth. This root to shoot ratio is critical to support the plant during flowering and grain filling. With a limited root system, the plant

will not be able to extract enough nutrients from the soil and the genetic yield potential will be significantly reduced.

# 4) Restore Nutrient Deficiencies in the Soil; The final priority is to resupply the nutrients to the plant that have been lost or tied up during the water logged state. These nutrients include N, Mn and S.

Making the Complex Simple

Our Recommendation: Following water logged conditions, apply a foliar application of ReLeaf™ Canola at 2 Litres/Acre after the soil has dried up.

ReLeaf Canola is a complete NPK formulation that contains the necessary macro and micro nutrients to help maximize photosynthesis and to drive rooting.

Powered by the Transit-S™ Technology and proprietary Biological Activators in the formulation, these key components will help to propel a more active and vigorous root system.

Learn More

To learn more about excess water and how it can affect your crop and ensuing yield potential, please speak with one of our ATP Nutrition Technical Account Managers, by visiting the Locate a Rep section of our website.