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Silicon biostimulants could help restore crops left saturated by wet weather

Prolonged rainfall risks leaving plants with 'lazy roots'

clock • 2 min read
Biostimulants can help struggling crops get back on their feet by helping to restore root systems
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Biostimulants can help struggling crops get back on their feet by helping to restore root systems

Employing silicon biostimulants could offer a solution for those growers whose crops have suffered root stress from the prolonged wet weather.

According to agronomist Mike Stoker, biostimulants can help struggling crops get back on their feet by helping to restore root systems, improve tiller health, stimulate root and shoot growth, and overcome abiotic and biotic stresses.

"Prolonged soil saturation impacts rooting and can cause roots to die off," said Mr Stoker who is business development agronomist at biostimulant specialist Orion FT. "However, using a silicon biostimulant to strengthen the root can improve the plant's ability to obtain nutrients and recover from the lack of oxygen caused when soils are saturate."

Mr Stoker said silicon not only improves root nutrient uptake but also aids efficiency in converting nutrients.

"Providing a winter wheat plant, that has been growing in waterlogged soils, with supplementary silicon, changes its tolerance to stress and improves leaf and tiller growth, which will set the plant up to photosynthesise more effectively in spring and summer," Mr Stoker added.

Read more: Grassland guide - understanding soil health

鶹Ů in East Anglia, in particular have been badly effected as the region recorded its warmest and wettest February on record, with an average of 106.4mm of rainfall, beating the previous record of 95.2mm set in 1916, and a mean temperature of 8.2C, surpassing the previous record of 7.6C set in 1990.

Mr Stoker said crops that have sat in water for some time develop ‘lazy roots' which could impact later growth. He also said despite record rainfall, a spring or summer drought is still probable based on previous years' weather patterns.

Drought

"Weather extremes are becoming more common and it would not be extraordinary for cereal crops to soon be experiencing drought, as many did in June last year. Lazy roots fail to reach deep enough in these conditions to find sufficient moisture and so the plant suffers both having been starved of oxygen in saturated soils and of water in periods of drought. This will have a significant impact on yield if not addressed," he said.

Mr Stoker said once absorbed, silicon is deposited within and between the cells of the plant and it also encourages crops to absorb beneficial elements such as nitrogen, calcium, and zinc.

"Silicon can be applied at every crop growth stage using a variety of application methods. This season it is likely to be best utilised as a foliar spray but it can also be applied direct to soil, as a seed treatment or via fertigation. For those struggling to deal with weather extremes, biostimulants offer a cost-effective and sustainable option to getting back on track by strengthening plants' natural defences," he added.

TILE SHEDS FARM - Morpeth, Northumberland

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LOW SHIPLEY FARMBARNARD CASTLE, TEESDALE

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NEW HANSON GRANGE, NEWTON GRANGE, ASHBOURNE,

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