Published June 23, 2011 | By admin
Year number 30 for the Orthman Agronomist’s Root Studies has a different look!
Out in corn fields that are just reaching knee high in places our agronomist and his assistant have been investigating this month roots of corn to determine the “real” potential of a good crop or an excellent crop.
Mike has been studying roots now for 30 years (started in 1981) in regards to what are the positive and/or negative effects of tillage to what the American Farmer grows well – Maize(Corn). This year Orthman grabbed hands firmly with three seed companies to observe rooting structure, dimension, number and space (root-soil volume) occupied for the uptake of nutrients and water for six different lines with each company. He has found some real differences this year which has started out a bit wet. Each company entered varieties from 102 to 113 relative maturity days to see how precision placed fertilizer in a strip-till environment affects the rooting systems. Mike and his sidekick will follow through with more root digs in July then September to fully evaluate the differences in these corn hybrids and lines. It is more than hybrid number that they are looking at folks, this is looking at specific lines and the architecture of those crosses and how they grow underground. You ask why? The Orthman Company and the three advanced thinking seed companies are looking for the hybrids/lines that excel in a better conservation tillage environment where nutrients are right where the roots grow and roots can more easily extend deeper into the soil. Sorta getting the root system off on the right foot is the phrase – yes?
Mike said to us he would be offering a report of the progress soon after he first reports to the Seed Companies involved and they get a chance to see what is up or better – down! If a corn plant does not have a sound and vigorous root system – the potential to make big yields is not there no matter how much nitrogen you push.