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Why Root Mass Matters

Updated: 09/06/2013 @ 12:57pm

Root mass matters, especially given the extreme weather like we’ve experienced!  While visiting corn plots in western Iowa Aug. 24 during the Freedom of Independence Ride, Corn Product Specialist Nick Benson demonstrated how a hybrid’s ability to handle moisture stress is affected by its root mass. 

Root mass is critical to plant development for several reasons. Nodal roots are important because they provide water and nutrients, as well as anchor the plant in the ground.  Corn plants without large root mass are more susceptible to lodging and definitely should be monitored for early harvest.  Due to their already limited root mass, these plants also may be more susceptible to feeding damage from corn rootworm larvae.  This is why Nick strongly encourages farmers to scout every field for rootworm.

Large root mass can be credited for the good condition of the corn plots we visited in western Iowa.  In spite of only receiving 1.9 inches of rain in the past two months, Latham® Hi-Tech Hybrids with Agrisure ArtesianTM were standing strong and the ears on each plant were filled to the tip. 

The condition of the 2013 crop is definitely dependent on heat and rain.  Here's to hoping the next few weeks brings a little less heat and a lot more moisture... 

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