Legends Seed Genetic Researcher and Agronomist, Mike Knight, reports that growers can glean valuable information by evaluating their plants within days of emergence. Early stage development sets the tone for the rest of the plant’s development. Evaluating plants is key for growers to know if the plant is developing to it’s full potential. By evaluating plants throughout the growing season growers can gauge plant development and seed performance; verify planting depth and detect, as well as, remedy nutrient deficiency
When evaluating newly emerged plants growers should begin by looking at a portion of the field to determine the actual emergence population. Like many aspects of plant evaluation, this helps growers determine if the seed is performing as it should. Measuring the mesocotyl, which is the distance from the seed to the soil’s surface, allows growers to determine actual planting depth and if their planter was correctly calibrated.
While initial plant evaluation can provide growers with useful information to use when planning 2014 management practices and selecting seed; it’s important to evaluate plants throughout the entire growing season. In some cases growers can actually increase yields through plant evaluation. For example, when looking at leaf coloration to determine if the plant is taking up the proper nutrients; if they catch a nutrient deficiency early enough in the plant’s development, there is the opportunity to side dress before yields are negatively impacted.