Four Early Indicators to Gauge your Crops Stress Level

Written on 06/05/17

Is your crop all stressed out?  A plant tells us when it’s stressed.  However, by the time you see visual symptoms in your crop, a large amount of genetic yield potential has already been lost.  

Pictured below is a field showing a manganese deficiency in wheat.  By proactively managing the deficiency using tissue tests before the symptoms were visible the grower was able to minimize the yield loss. 

Knowing the four indicators that cause stress on the crop early in the season, and taking proactive steps to address these stress factors will ensure you maximize the genetic potential of your crop. 

  1. Seedling Stall – Many times seedlings will stall due to environmental conditions.  Has it been “Too wet, too cold, too hot, or too dry?” If your growing conditions have been less than ideal, it’s likely that your crop is suffering some level of stress.  
  2. Limited Rooting – Dig up a few plants and study their roots.  Limited rooting will restrict the plant’s moisture and nutrient access. If the rooting is limited, it’s time to give the seedling a second boost.  
  3. Missing Essential Nutrient – Did you miss a key nutrient with your soil fertility program?  It’s critical to fix a deficiency prior to letting it impact your crop’s yield potential. 
  4. Get ready for the herbicide and fungicide application – Since most crop protection plans include a herbicide and fungicide application, you need to ensure that your crop is prepared for the stress that the agro-chemical treatment will have on the plant.  By applying foliar nutrients in combination with the herbicide or fungicide, you will help the crop metabolize the chemistries applied and reduce the stress on the plant.  As well, by applying the products together, you will gain labor efficiencies and not have to make an additional pass across the field.  

Proactively Dealing with Stress – Feeding the Crop at Peak Demand Periods 

There are three critical times where we need to supply essential nutrients to meet the peak nutritional demands of the crop.  By feeding the crop with essential nutrients at these peak demand periods, you can influence 60% of the yield.  

The three critical times to proactively apply essential nutrients are: 

  • Seeding with a seed nutrient dressing such as PreCede 
  • Herbicide timing with an NPK formulation that meets the early season nutritional demands of the crop such as ReLeaf. Technologies such as Transit–S and proprietary Biological Activators also improve the nutrient use efficiency of the formulations while reducing the stresses on the plant. 
  • Fungicide Timing with an NPK formulation with key micronutrients to aid in flowering, pollination, and seed set such as 42Phi. 

Foliar nutrition is an important part of your overall crop nutrition strategy to maximize the genetic potential of your crop.  To learn more about proactive plant nutrition with PreCede, ReLeaf or 42Phi, please visit our product page here