Renewable Farming

Day 22: More root growth, top growth in corn with biologicals and WakeUP Spring

Root and top growth in our test-tube experiment remains consistent, now passing the three-week mark after planting. Total height of the seed treated in-furrow with SP-1, LigniSeed and WakeUP Spring is 35 inches from root tip to leaf tip, and a fifth leaf unfurling. The untreated comparison is 25 inches from root tip to leaf tip and three leaves.

April 20, 2018 — The major difference between the two seedlings is the root structure and greater abundance of lateral root hairs in the corn given an in-furrow taste of beneficial microbes (SP-1 from AgriEnergy), a biostimulant (LigniSeed from Lignition) and mobilizer (WakeUP Spring from Renewable Farming).

There may be several products available to you which do equally well. It would take many, many trials for a fair comparison, and they’d have to be done with the soil you’re planting into. So… what we can say at this point is that beneficial biologicals appear definitely worth testing on at least some of your acres. 

The past couple of weeks, farmers are looking out at snowbound fields and phoning us with the question, “When I finally roll the planter, what could help corn emerge from cool, damp soil?  One way of answering that would be: A high-odds answer is that encouraging beneficial mycorrhizae and bacteria around your root zone can help corn roots assimilate nutrients more quickly and effectively.

Here are a couple of representative corn seedlings, washed out of our 2-inch diameter tubes (see previous reports on how those were set up). 

Top stalk is untreated; bottom one had in-furrow microbial, biostimulant and WakeUP Spring.

The treated stalk has about twice the diameter of the untreated stalk. And the treated stalk has eight taproots versus four on the untreated plant. Treated roots are about 15 inches from seed to root tip. The second emergence of roots from above the seed is well underway. On the untreated stalk, roots are about eight inches long and secondary root emergence is just starting.

When you wash out roots like this, the fine lateral root hairs cling to the main taproot and don’t show as well in the exposed-root photo as they do growing inside the tube. You can best see root development when you hold a tube to light and rotate it, seeing root growth on all sides.

Closeup of untreated root in tube
Closeup of treated roots