One of the big questions surrounding the Ontario corn crop of 2019 is whether plant roots can push through tough planting conditions and continue to feed the plant throughout the growing season.
On this episode of the RealAgriculture Corn School, agronomist Peter Johnson takes a look at the challenges root systems faced in one of the toughest springs on record. He notes that corn plants actually develop four sets of nodal roots, and when each new set emerged from the plant, they all faced the same struggle of pushing through smeared sidewalls to get out of the trench to access water and nutrients.
The end result is a crop that will continue to be highly variable throughout the season and very prone to drought conditions resulting from poorly developed root systems. Ever the optimist, Johnson acknowledges that “growers had to plant wet” but he says there are many lessons to be learned from spring 2019, especially when it comes to planter closing wheels and managing a problematic seed trench.