Managing Heat Stress
A major challenge in agricultural production is how to cope with plant environmental stress, especially heat stress, in a practical and economical way. With a record number of above average temperatures in the desert region in recent years, Helena nutritional and bioscience products can play an important role as viable options to mitigate stress.
First, good irrigation management is key to limiting heat stress as well as reducing potential for moisture-related disorders. However, this can be difficult in large fields where it can take many days to complete an irrigation cycle, and the potential for heat and drought stress can become an issue. Whether in the presence or absence of adequate soil moisture in the soil profile, heat stress can be an important risk and/or limitation to plant growth and development. While some crops are more susceptible to heat stress during critical growth stages, (e.g., pollination and flowering), others are also susceptible to extreme heat (and water) stress during early vegetative stages.
Extreme heat stress can reduce plant photosynthetic and transpiration rates and negatively impact plant root development, which can have a detrimental effect on yield. In addition, soil fertility can also impact the degree to which heat and water stress affects plants. Even under good fertility conditions, nutrient distribution and the transpiration rate under water stress conditions can be lower. Also, under heat stress, soil fertility has improved by applying macronutrients, such as potassium and calcium, and micronutrients, such as boron, manganese, and selenium. These applications are known to modify stomatal function and activate physiological and metabolic processes to help increase heat stress tolerance.
Applications of Helena’s Utilize® PK prior to extreme heat episodes is the most effective way to boost crop energy to grow through these conditions. With more energy, it can increase uptake and utilization of soil- and foliar-applied nutrients
In addition, during times of heat and drought, it is also important to strengthen flower structures that are vital for pollination. eXploit® from Helena helps the plant produce stronger pollen tubes, which leads to a higher number of blooms. It also increases the production of polyamines, which impacts processes like chlorophyll production and photosynthesis. The result is better flowering, which leads to improved yields and quality.
Together, Utilize PK and eXploit improve your crop’s capabilities of tolerating and overcoming peak months of heat stress to maximize yield potential.For questions on how to achieve less stress and greater success this season, contact your local Helena representative for more information.
- Jose Cabrera, Desert Product Manager