Reading Your Soybean Roots
5 Oct 238 min 45 sec

Do you know what to look at when looking at soybean roots? What is good, what is bad, and what is the plant telling you. Temple Rhodes and Mark Coots talk about reading your roots for improved yields.

00:00 The root of good crops, of course, are the roots. And we talked about this on corn in a previous episode with Mark Coutts here. And, uh, my buddy Temple Rhodes we're at his field day and I said, Hey, 00:09 you did such a good job with corn. Let's talk about soybeans. What does a healthy root system look like? What does the unhealthy system, uh, 00:15 uh, root system in soybeans not have that healthy roots have? So before we're about good roots versus bad roots, 00:21 I wanna hear about these soybeans look like they're really healthy. Our buddy Sam, from, uh, from Quebec is all enamored by the fact that these, uh, 00:29 these stems look like they're about the size of a small tree. So anyway, what's going on here? So 00:34 These are irrigated beans. This test plot was put in mainly to show you that on, on a ferral fertility. That this is a, this is kind of a real r o i situation. 00:44 So this is what we talk about real world. This isn't the kind of stuff that we do. And try to, you know, stimulate some massive thing. 00:51 But there's enough fertility that we've done with infer and tuba two, putting different products in there. That's what makes this root system, 00:59 that's what makes that stalk size and that's what sets it up to start branching early on. 01:04 And look, by the way, I think it's important to say this is not some little three acre thing where you're trying to hit 150 bushel beans. This is just a normal production field. 01:12 This is a normal production field with normal fertility, with A couple of different experiments. Fertility, yeah. Four 01:16 Different, four different, um, experiments of changing it to see what works Best. Okay, so flop. Tell me about these roots. Uh, mark. They look fine to me, 01:24 but maybe I'm wrong. So what I look at first, so we got two different plants here, you know, so the first thing I like to see is a good taproot going straight down. 01:31 You know, like this one, this one didn't have it. It got a little bit up and things. That's kind of the first thing that I look at. 01:37 Of course when we dug these up guys, we cut off tons and tons of roots on it. Sure. 'cause you just can't get 'em all up. But you want to have good, you know, 01:45 a good root ball system. The other thing is, is I always take a knife and scraped this back. This all these roots all the way down should be good and white on the inside. 01:54 If they start turning brown, that means they're dead. They're not doing you any good. So as you can see, we're scraping these back. Those are all good, healthy, viable roots. They're still pulling in nutrients, 02:04 they're still doing what they want to do. Had those be brown, they'd be dead and they'll be, you know, that, 02:08 that root's not doing you any good. And As a quick, uh, side note, we're recording this on August 22, the day of your field day, these soybeans will be harvested one month from now. 02:17 Um, like end of September, first of, Okay. So five weeks out, roughly five, six weeks. When will they start to die down? Or do they, 02:24 They, I don't think even all the way up until you're gonna be harvesting with the way these guys farm, you're gonna see these pretty viable all the way through. Okay. 02:31 So the roots even. So if you go out there and say, well my roots don't look as good as those, but it's because I'm getting closer to harvest. You say, no, they should look 02:37 Like this. They're gonna stay pretty good clean all the way up with the way that we, with the way these guys farm, you know, where they're pushing to the, 02:43 to the max on things, they're gonna stay, you know, stay pretty good. Okay. Talk to me about depth. Um, you know, we talk about compaction being an issue. 02:49 It doesn't look like that's the issue here. Is this the right depth? Would they, should they be further? I mean, 02:55 can you still make a huge yield with 'em being less? Talk about that. Yeah, you Can. What most of us have in farming, 02:59 if you're not doing no-till or whatever else that you may be doing, we're gonna have a hard pan at about four to six inches deep. And if you, 03:06 if they pancake and stop at four to six inches deep, that's not good for us. So, you know, you can see on these, like I said, we cut up a lot, 03:12 but that one is much lower than six, seven inches, you know, so he doesn't necessarily have a hard pan out there. 03:18 You wouldn't see these going straight down and stuff. But this one here where it crooked, it probably hit a compaction area just in that particular spot, you know, 03:25 so it crooked over to the side and Absolutely. At about three to four inches. Yeah, probably. So I don't know would that, that would not in your mind, simple indicate oh, 03:35 I've got a compaction field. No, it's probably where ripples shank was at one time or other. It might have been in a, in a, in a track. These are on 15 inch rows. 03:41 So they could be on a track of the planter or a track of the, of the, of the tracker. Yeah, it's gonna, 03:46 These were side, There's gonna be an Area. These were side by side in the field. They were to go, they were together. Oh, they pulled 'em up. So 15 inch 03:52 Rows, obviously there's gonna be an area that gets driven over. So that's not no Norton, our life nor death. Go ahead. Yeah. 03:58 So then the next thing we look at is the nodulation. So you can see all these little balls that you're nod, you know, your nodules that you want on there. So you want to see the more, 04:07 the better the, you know, we have to have these, these are what are making nitrogen for the plant. So without nodulation, you're not making the nitrogen that you should 04:15 And this, and at this point, that's making all your nerves in and drives up the plant and make seed. That's right. So what I do is when you pull them off, 04:23 you have three different colors that they're gonna be on the inside. So we cut those open. And so you can see this one, right? 04:30 And it's really hard to tell, but if they're green, when you open 'em up, that means they're immature. 04:35 They're going to start producing nitrogen pretty soon. Yep. If they're red, that means they're producing nitrogen. And if they're brown, 04:43 that means they've done all the nitrogen production they're gonna do and they're no longer producing nitrogen anymore. 04:48 So a couple things. First off, on colorblind, there's no difference between red, brown and green for me. But for the person that sees color, that's important. 04:54 How many nodules are enough? You, you know, uh, because that, 'cause that directly equates to being 05:00 Production. Yeah. You, you can't get enough. You can't, in my opinion, you can't get enough. 'cause look, guys in 80 bush at about 80 bushel beans, 05:07 we start, the plant has a hard time keeping up enough nitrogen in the plant to grow tap, say 90 and a hundred bushel. Right? So the more we got, 05:14 the more nitrogen we can produce. You know, otherwise we have to do supplemental nitrogen on them to get over those 80, you know, 85 bushel of bush people 05:21 Would've thought Was crazy. Right? So, I mean, that's one thing that we go and do. Like we, we try to, over the years of trying to grow high, higher, 05:28 and higher yielding irrigated beans, we would go out there and we would do a root digging. We'd look how much nodulation that we have and it tells us for the next year, 05:37 like, what are we missing? Like, so we started putting an anhydrous on a strip telling anhydrous just at a very, very small point, but we're putting it like nine inches deep. Okay. 05:48 And when we strip till it and we put it out there nine inches deep, I know that it's not feeding off of it the whole time. So nowadays, 05:55 if I'm not getting quite as many nodules on there as what I really want, I'm not necessarily that worried about it because in high yield and beans, 06:02 you're gonna have to drive that nitrogen up. And there's not a lot of ways for us to drive nitrogen in a plant. Right. So NH three is kind of safe. And yes, I do row in the ground, but I do, 06:12 I I put seacat on, I, I do put seacat in and we, we direct inject it to make it safer. Right. But those are some of the things that we kind of look 06:21 Right. Question for you, if I see a field that looks pretty good from the road, it's very possible that it's not that good. 06:28 And the roots would tell more than the drive-by, uh, Early, early on for sure. I mean there's so much. Whenever a bean or a corn plant, a lot of times it stalls out for a while. Yeah. 06:38 It's really not stalling out. It's doing everything underground that we can't see and everything, you know? And so that's possible. Yes. I mean they all correlate. 06:45 It's like we said about the corn, you know, if you, the more roots you've got, the more nutrition you should be able to pull up. It's like going to, 06:51 well with one bucket or two buckets, you'll be able to carry back more water with two buckets. But look guys, if you put a big massive root system on and then you don't have the groceries 07:00 there for you, it's not done you any good. Okay. A couple last questions. If I have a good root ball and I think, alright, it's good they're white, just like Mark said, it's a pretty good root system. 07:08 I don't have nodules, I don't get the beans right. Yeah. Not unless you're supplementing them, 07:13 unless you're doing something to get the other nitrate. But I will always prefer nodulation. That's why we always talk about double inoculating your soybeans, 07:20 doing all these things early on to get as much inoculation as Possible. Okay, last thing for you. Was there a late season treatment? 07:25 'cause there's a fertility trial you're doing here. Is there a late season treatment you think really pushed these roots to be bigger and more? Um, no. You, you, 07:32 You're setting it, you're setting this up at the beginning. Okay. This is, this is the beginning. You can't do, and then to the foer, 07:37 this is the beginning and the branching are the beginning the bottom branches that sit. 07:41 You're trying to set all the branches and trying to build that at the beginning. And that's what, you know, we did, 07:45 you and me did a podcast on this is building the fortress. Okay. You 07:48 Gotta build that. Yeah. And that's the big, the biggest stress reliever are there. Stress mitigation you can Do is have good roots. 07:54 It's right there. Yeah. So really you're not gonna catch up on root development now in July with a foliar two nests because the, the roots are too late. 08:02 You're just feeding the route That lake. We're just really trying to feel pods and hold on more Balloons. Got it. His name's Mark Coot Tiva Corporation. 08:09 His name's Tim Rhodes with Extreme Ag. We're at his field day before the crowds roll in. You know, we have really cool field days here at extreme ag. They're educational, 08:16 they're open to you as the members and the followers for extreme ag. We hope you take one in in the year 2024. We'll be doing 'em all again. 08:22 His is the final of the year. We're doing cool things like this talking about roots and soybeans and corn. And there's cool equipment over my shoulder right here. 08:29 You know why it's a good field day. So anyway, mark your calendar for next year because you've already missed this one. Unfortunately. Damien Macy coming at you for Extreme Ag Farm. 08:37 Hope we are upping your farming game 'cause that's why we're here. Till next time.

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