Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Not Exactly The Royal York

Luxury hotels provide king size beds, soft towels, fluffy pillows, stocked refrigerators, massage therapy and other items to ensure their guests speak highly of the facilities and service offered.
Contrast this with the seedbed accommodations we provided this spring to our corn and soybean seed.  If the seed planted could post on line reviews of our efforts, the comment section would be filled with multiple expletives***!!!!***.  None of them would be complementary from what I have seen, including my own efforts.  A sampling of seed bed shots taken over the past few weeks are posted below.

Lots of lumps, bumps and rough rides across many fields.  The good news is if you bedded your corn during the last week in May and put it into moisture, the guests have grudgingly paid their bill by emerging in a normal fashion.
The bad news is if you were unlucky to put your guests to bed on May 18 and 19 many of them never had a chance to emerge.
Heavy rains on the 20th through the 22nd turned the beds into death traps.  Stands are reduced in these fields by 20-30% on average.  Certainly serious but not bad enough to justify re-plant.
Most of the victims suffered from the "leafing out underground" affliction as shown below.
Leafing out is the result of the coleoptile rupturing before it emerges in the upright position.  The coleoptile is the protective sheath that covers the emerging leaf shoot.  Most people can relate to the needle stage of growth when the corn shoot is at, or just below the soil surface.  What they are seeing is the protective coleoptile which under normal circumstances will only open when it senses light upon breaking the soil surface, allowing the leaf shoot to emerge.
In this picture you can actually see the leaf tissue inside the coleoptile sheath.  The swollen and crumpled mesocotyl which brings the coleoptile to the surface indicates how tough it was for the seedling trying to find a way to emerge.  Unfortunately when under this much stress the coleoptile will rupture prematurely.  Usually a small amount of light penetrating around a crack will cause the coleoptile to open and the new leaf will have no where to go.
Another example of a leaf emerging out of what appeared to be a worm hole on the side of a hard consolidated lump of soil.

As these and other fields develop further we will see more effects of poor seedbeds as new roots try to establish in an environment of smeared sidewalls and tight hard pans just under the seedbeds.
Please do not interpret this as me being critical of anyone's efforts because we all did our best when faced with difficult soil conditions.  My friends that farm the farm the heavy flat clay soils of Lambton or Niagara have no sympathy for us spoiled brats either.
A rain dance is required to reduce the effects of the seedbed mess.  It will take at least normal amounts of rain spread over the next 4 weeks to salvage all our 4 star ratings as good hosts to our seed guests.

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