From moisture to nutrients, plant roots play a critical role in feeding corn throughout the growing season.
On this episode of the RealAgriculture Corn School, Sullivan Agro agronomist Paul Sullivan looks at some of the problems growing plants can run into as they push down into the soil looking to feed the plant, fuel cob development and fill grain.
From hatchet roots produced by planting into tough soil conditions to flat roots that have run into a tillage-generated soil density layer, Sullivan identifies typical problems that constrain roots and steal yield. He also stresses the importance of vertical roots and shares tips on how growers can help plants dive deeper into the soil profile.
The main thing growers need to avoid, says Sullivan, is creating a tillage layer that is going to restrict root growth. The message here is simple — park the tillage implement when the soil is unfit. Similar advice is offered at planting. If soil conditions are damp and tough, disc openers can smear the soil and create sidewall compaction that restricts root growth.
Sullivan also adds that cover crops can play a key role in penetrating density layers because their roots provide channels for corn roots to find their way through a soil hard pan.
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