Agronomy Advice
April 12, 2021

Managing crop stress under cold and dry conditions

By: Mark Tucker

When frost and dry conditions combine to put abiotic stresses onto crops it is worthwhile considering the use of biostimulants such as YaraVita Biotrac which has been developed to alleviate the impact of abiotic stresses.

Managing crop stress under cold and dry conditions
Managing crop stress under cold and dry conditions

Winter cereals are at the critical T1 growth phase, it is well-accepted that preventing ‘biotic’ stress is critical when managing a crop for high yields at this fungicide application. It is also now becoming well-accepted that ensuring micronutrient sufficiency is key towards success, with the application of crop-specific products such as YaraVita Gramitrel for cereals, again this helps remove the stress associated with nutrient deficiency. A more novel issue is that of managing ‘abiotic’ stress alongside the ‘biotic’ stress, again with a view to bringing ‘yield resilience’ into the crop management program. Yara R&D has also been focusing on better understanding how we can manage ‘abiotic’ stress through the use of various biostimulants. Whilst data is still limited, some trials are indicating the possibilities and maybe worth exploring as we are currently seeing crops coming under stress.

Firstly, we have YaraVita Biotrac, a liquid biostimulant formulation for foliar applications based on a blend of nutrients and bioactive compounds extracted from the algae Ascophyllum nodosum. It was developed to alleviate the impact of abiotic stress conditions (e.g. cold and drought) and help the plant during periods of high metabolic demand. In a winter wheat trial that simulated drought by using shelters out in the field, a yield increase of 0.53 t/ha was recorded.

In terms of the economics, with wheat at £166/t the Biotrac treatment gave an extra £70/ha yield benefit (a 5:1 return on investment).

Winter wheat yield response to YaraVita Biotrac undersimulated drought stress conditions

Secondly, research has also been investigating the role of silicon in alleviating abiotic stress, especially drought. Early work has revealed some interesting findings with visual improvements in root systems and a plant’s ability to recover following periodic drought stress.

Wheat root growth response to YaraVita Actisil

Initial trials have also demonstrated that an early application can bring an improved yield. In winter wheat this translated into an extra 0.75 t/ha (9.4%), giving a 15:1 return on investment.

Our trials have not included spring cereals, but one possible management tool to helping the spring cereals crops that are now emerging or reaching the 3 – 4 leaf stage, could be an early application of YaraVita Actisil. This period of establishment is critical for setting the foundation for high yields.

 Key actions

  • Winter Cereals @ GS 30/31 (T1)
    YaraVita Gramitrel @ 2 l/ha + YaraVita Bortrac @ 0.5 l/ha + YaraVita Biotrac @ 2.0 l/ha
  • Spring Cereals @ GS 14
    YaraVita Mantrac Pro @ 1 l/ha + YaraVita Actisil @ 0.3 l/ha

Read more information on YaraVita Biostimulants

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