Did you know that, on average, most seeds only yield between 25 and 40 percent of their full potential? We know this from witnessing record yields on commodity crops such as canola, corn or beans. But why aren't more farmers producing higher yields? The answer is stress. There are many sources of stress for a plant. Some of these include moisture, temperature, nutrient deficiency, light, pests, etc. As we walk through the plant growth cycle, we can examine the most common of these stress factors.
At each stage of a plant's life, various stresses have different effects. It may seem overly obvious but, we all know that if a seed doesn't get enough water, it won't germinate. Less obvious potential stresses are soil termperature, and nutrient availability. Availability of nutrients is a key factor for every stage of a plant's life.
In corn, much of the plant's yield has been determined before V3. This is why it is very important to make sure that the early stages of the plant's life are low in stress.
In soybeans, the flowering stage is critical time for setting pods. The more flowers, the more pods are set. The more pods that are set, the higher the potential yield.
Successful stress management is the best way to decrease yield loss.
Think of your young seedling as a vulnerable baby that can not fend for itself. The seedling needs to be provided with many things, the most important of which includes adequate moisture, proper temperature and a steady diet of balanced nutrition. Once germinated, a seed draws nutrients immediately from its storage tank - the energetic material of the seed, itself. But, the seed's storage tank is small and only has enough energy to sustain the development of a few small root hairs and an upward shoot and then, it is quickly depleted. After that, a seedling needs to get nutrients from external inputs.
As a farmer, you can't control temperature or moisture. But you can control nutrition. You have two choices. You can supply nutrition in the form of available fertilizer, supplied directly to the plant or you can foster a healthy soil environment that can supply the tender plant with what it needs.
Most soils are chock full of nutrients. But most of these nutrients are in a raw or reserved form in the soil. Rock Phosphate and Calcium are hard granular materials. So, how does a plant eat a bunch of rocks? It doesn't. A healthy soil environment contains an army of microbes that convert the "rocks" to an available form. This process is called solubilizing. With traditional high-salt fertilizers, chemical processes have been employed to do the job of the microbes in order to extract nutrients from the "rocks" and make them available to plants. But the chemical forms of these nutrients kill the soil's microbes. So, this leaves your plants dependent on you to supply all their nutrients and leaves you with a dead soil. Use of chemical fertilizers leaves you with a soil system that is dependent on purchased inputs. In addition, it is more difficult to achieve balance with purchased inputs. Imbalances mean a combination of deficiency and excess which translate to unhealthy plants that are more susceptible to disease and insect pressure.
Dead soil has no water holding capacity, is easily compacted so roots can't navigate through it, and fosters no beneficial microbes and other organisms like worms that serve as your fertilizer production army.
Dead soil is bad for good farming. Make your soil come alive again by reducing chemical fertilizers and other chemical applications. Stimulate the microbes in your soil by feeding them with organic material. Make sure your soil contains the micronutrients that enable microbes to complete critical enzymatic processes and allow them to digest and release nutrients available to your plants.
Stimulate dead or unhealthy soils with an inoculant of our TrueBlend Soil Rejuvenator to activate the army of little workers under your feet. Then, feed your plants with natural, high quality, highly available nutrients to give them the jump they need while your microbes are building their strength. Consider spraying Agri-Gro FoliarBlend bio-stimulant or our comprehensive, all-natural TrueBlend Planting and Foliar solutions in the row at planting or on your new crops as a foliar for a strong start.