With the dry weather continuing late into the spring, crops are coming under increasing drought pressure, with limited nutrient availability stalling crop growth.
Interagro says growers can boost crop resilience to such weather by using amino acids to improve structure and root biomass early in the crop’s life.
It claims, when used in the right way, amino acid biostimulants help optimise the metabolic efficiency of plants and aid resilience to abiotic stress, improving yield, quality and overall plant health.
To explore the use of amino acids on abiotic stress in a controlled environment, bioscientist Dr. Stephen Rossall from the University of Nottingham has looked at a range of foliar-applied biostimulant products on early root and shoot growth.
These comprised materials as diverse as bacterial agents, inorganic molecules, phytohormone products, amino acids and carbohydrates.
Dr Rossall says: “When weather patterns are more variable, the need for consistent crop establishment becomes more important. Application of an effective biostimulant can give a yield response in all seasons, but additional benefits may be seen in ‘difficult seasons’ thus providing enhanced yields and more consistency for farmers.”
Dr Rossall examined the impact of early applications of Bridgeway, which contains all 18 L-amino acids on root and shoot growth in both good growing conditions and under various forced stress scenarios.
In drought conditions in which wheat was subject to irrigation only every fourth day, or earlier if the plant started to show drought symptoms, rather than daily, a biostimulant application is said to have increased average dry weight by 24 per cent in shoots and 48 per cent in roots, according to Interagro.
To determine the impact on heat stress, plants were grown at a constant 30degC with standard feed and irrigation. Interagro claim the average yield of roots treated was almost double that of the untreated control at 49 per cent.
Crops that were nutrient-stressed, by feeding the plants at 10 per cent of the standard feed, saw increased average dry weight of shoots by 27 per cent and roots by 29 per cent.
In non-stressed wheat, roots saw a dry weight boost of 42 per cent, suggesting the biostimulant is most affective when the crop was under stress, when applied ahead of the stress event.
Crop: Relay winter wheat
Soil type: Heavy clay
Stressors: Waterlogging at T1, drought stressed at T3
1L/ha at T3: 10.07t/ha
1L/ha at T1 + T3: 10.42t/ha
1L/ha at T1 + T3, 2L/ha at T3: 11.44t/ha
Crop: Skyfall winter wheat
Soil type: Cotswold Brash
Stressors: Heat stress and drought
Untreated: 11t/ha. 11.3 per cent protein
2.5L/ha at T1 + T2, 2L/ha at T3: 12.9t/ha. 12.8 per cent protein]