Minimize Plant Stress This Summer, Maximize Crop Yields This Fall
Got moisture in your area? The U.S. Drought Monitor shows that drought conditions are fairly widespread—and quite severe in some areas—from Iowa to the Dakotas to Minnesota.
“Our concern is that there’s not a lot of sub-soil moisture available in many areas,” said Dennis Klockenga, a crop specialist with ProfitProAG. “That makes timely rains more critical.”
While we can’t make it rain, we can help you learn more about plant biology, specifically the role that ethylene plays in a plant’s response to dry conditions.
We can also help you find ways to Farm the Controllables (and yes, that includes ethylene and the plants’ response to dry conditions). But first, let’s dig into a little biology 101.
Stress produces ethylene
Although plants are rooted in place, they’ve developed fascinating mechanisms to detect and adapt to environmental conditions. Plants sense drought primarily through their roots. Then root-to-leaf signaling triggers the stomata to close, especially on hot days. (The stomata are pores in plants’ tissues that allow the exchange of carbon dioxide and water between the plants and the environment.)
When plants become stressed, they also produce ethylene. These gaseous molecules regulate many diverse processes throughout the plant’s life cycle, from seed germination to leaf growth to reproduction. Too much ethylene can harm plants’ growth and development. “One of the best examples of ethylene production is observed when you put a banana into a brown paper bag,” Klockenga said. “The ethylene is trapped in the bag and ripens the banana.”
Some studies suggest that ethylene shuts down leaf growth quickly after a plant senses stress, such as limited water availability. This curtails maximum photosynthesis, which hurts yield potential.
What can you do?
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to Farm the Controllables that impact yield potential. They include harnessing the power of microbes to break down crop residue efficiently (our product BioRegenerate makes this simple), and building soil health through the use of cover crops—all of which make your crops more resilient.
These strategies are part of ProfitProAG’s Full-Circle System for maximum productivity and profitability. This system also includes in-season solutions to keep crops green and healthy, including BioEnergy+. The ethylene inhibitor in BioEnergy+ hinders the plant’s ability to produce ethylene, so the plant can continue to grow, develop and produce a higher yield. “This product helps keep ethylene production in check, which buys you some time until the next rain comes,” Klockenga said.
He also recommends StressAway, a potassium fertilizer solution (0-0-20) from ProfitProAG that inhibits ethylene production. This product not only helps plants protect themselves from environmental stresses, but it builds plants’ tolerance against physical and mechanical injury, as well. StressAway promotes plant growth (through carbon fixation) while decreasing stress-induced photorespiration. StressAway also increases the sugar content within the plant, leading to a healthier, more vigorous crop.
StressAway can be applied as a foliar or a soil application to all crops. Applications can be made at planting (if applicable) and as often as every 10-14 days throughout the growing season, as needed.
Let’s start the conversation
Although it can seem like you’re at the mercy of Mother Nature, we encourage you to consider looking into ways you can Farm the Controllables. For more information, contact a member of the ProfitProAG team. We look forward to hearing from you.