Roots: Good, Bad and the Ugly
30 Sep 237 min 9 sec

Everyone loves to dig up roots, but do you know what you are looking at when it comes to the rootball on your corn plant? Damian talks to Mark Coots and Chad Henderson about what you can tell from your roots and the adjustments you might need to make based on your root structures.

00:00 Your yield ultimately comes down to roots. How your roots are performing, getting the nutrients up into the plant. And I gotta tell you, 00:08 I admitted something to Mark Coutts here, TIVA. And I admitted to my friend Chad Henderson. I said, you know, we go to these field days and it's all about root digs. Hey, 00:15 I'm gonna show you these roots. You know what, I'll go ahead and admit it. I don't know what I'm looking at. So, you know what, 00:20 explain it to me because maybe there's other people that are just about as clueless as it as me when it comes to the roots. 00:25 Tell me what a good root ball looks like versus a bad root ball. Tell me about what's happening here. That to the layman is a little bit lost on, 00:32 you know me, I, I see it, it looks fine to me, but what am I seeing and what should I be seeing and what is it that bad plants don't have? Take me there, mark. Yeah. 00:40 So the first thing that we look at when we walk out in the field, if this was still together, we've taken a plant and cut it in half. 00:45 But if we were out in the field, you want see how many sets of brace roots it's shooting? Because the more brace roots that you shoot, 00:52 actually the less healthy the plant is. You want to see as fewer brace roots as possible. And the reason about that is, is because a plant has a corn plant has a filter tip in it. 01:02 So that's why we split this apart. So guys can see this. But in the bottom of it, the plant should make, when you, 01:08 the seed sits right here, this should make a good 45 degree angle on the, uh, on the corn plant. 01:15 If it's shot like a pencil where it's like real sharp and you know straight out Yeah. Or it's rounded or this curve, 01:22 sometimes you'll see these actually curve in different things. That tells you you've either got compaction or you've got chemical damage, 01:29 you know, going on in your soil there with it. So before we go any further, I just wanna point out we've seen the compacted soils, Chad, 01:35 and it seems like the roots come down and they turn 90 degrees and go sideways 'cause they can't penetrate through that like concrete. Yep. 01:42 And we're not seeing that. No, no, no. This is, this is not, there's no compaction here with the weight, with the way this corn shape this plant is shaped. Yeah. That's what 01:50 Mark's talking. And then the 45 uh, mark are you talking about show It's right here on the, on the side. Okay. 01:55 You see how this 45 is right here at the bottom? So it's not going straight down and it's also not going sideways because It's going straight. It's making like that. Making a 40 Yeah. Papers this way. 02:05 And Then why is that healthier versus if it went straight down? Well, Because it should be a 45. 02:10 That's the way the genetics of the corn plant should be. If it gets pencil shaped, that means hey, it's got a problem with compaction. 02:17 So it's just trying to penetrate differently. And that will cause you having issues of then having, because all nutrients are filtered up through this tip. Okay. 02:26 Remember that your seed started here? Yes sir. Okay. So I'm wondering also the idea of the 45, it gets it away. 02:33 So you start grabbing nutrients that are within four and five inches to each side. Is that where the two by two comes in? No, 02:38 This is just the genetics of the corn plant. Okay. You know, and then, and then the roots take off out of the, out of these at that angle. 02:44 And that's just why we put the two by two here where these roots can get it. Okay. 02:47 Mark, answer me this. You started off by saying a whole bunch of brace roots are a bad thing. I'm not sure that, uh, most people, uh, think that's common knowledge. 02:55 Is that something that maybe is new to me? Well, it's been around forever. A Purdue corn breeder taught me all this stuff 25, 30 years ago y'all. 03:03 So they've known for long. Yeah. So, but what the reason we get it is because this filter gets plugged up and so the plant says, Hey, I'm plugged up, bypass the system so it shoots a brace root. 03:14 Well then you'll see a little brown line get underneath that brace root, it says, Hey, I'm starving again. 03:19 Bypass the system so it shoots another set of brace root. So those are truly like when they talk about putting bypasses around your, oh, 03:25 there's a clog down here, which is why brace roots pop up. And remember we're saying that oh, it's got three sets of brace roots. 03:30 That's a bad thing. No, this is not a bad thing. If you look at this side of the plant, this is a good uniform. What you wanna see in the corn field, 03:38 that just tells you how much does go on underneath the soil. So you'll see some of these that come out here, here, I mean, 03:44 they'll just keep coming to keep doing this. And some of these things are caused not exactly by us. It could be wind, it could be other things that happen in the corn fields lifecycle that could 03:52 cause this. So guys, If we do start seeing breeze roots coming up the stalk, you're saying that means that there's something clearly not happening down in 03:59 the, in the soil that should be happening. Yeah. Right. What plugs this filter up? And that's the main thing that you guys as farmers all ought to worry about is 04:05 what am I doing in the soil? What am I fertilizer am I putting out that's plugging this filter tip up? And what plugs that up is normally heavy metals like iron, aluminum, chromium, 04:14 maric. So that's why it's so important that you put out products that are clean. If you're putting them in furrow or you're putting them two by two by two 'cause 04:22 you're putting 'em right by that system that's gonna start sucking that stuff up. So you want a clean product because of that. 04:27 Just since you said clean and, and for like, whatcha talking about clean, what does that mean 04:32 Without heavy metals in it? So you want a popup or with the least amount of heavy metals in it that you can possibly get. 04:38 Well, and do you have anything on that checks? No, that okay. My root development. Um, I mean is this enough? I mean, 04:44 don't people get excited? I I got a bigger root ball than you. Yeah, they do. And we pulled this sample, 04:51 we pulled this out where we had a really good uniform stand. So we cut off a chunk load of its roots just because we were trying to show this 04:57 example. But yes, I mean it's like going the well with one bucket or two you can come back with more water if you've got two buckets versus one. 05:03 And remember this plant right here come out of, come out of a, of a population of about 40,000. So now wrap your mind around that. 05:11 There was literally a plant as close as this one. So for it to have this root system and the other plant be this close, okay, we're in pretty good s**t. 05:17 So if we'd have seen, if somehow you backed off to 28,000, there's gonna be bigger, it's 05:22 Bigger it more room Spread on a bigger 'cause that's not a particularly large stalk. No, no. But 05:26 Compared to the stalk, is this the right amount of ball? Yeah, I'm happy with that roots. And like I said, 05:32 we cut off a tremendous amount of it when we, we only dug around it like a four inch circle around it. We could've dug it much deeper and there would be a ball this big here for this 05:41 one plant if we would've truly got all. Yeah. Is it deep enough? Yeah. I mean I think so. Once again we do, we tore off most of the deep roots. 05:50 We just didn't dig deep enough, you know? So but for what you're doing in the field and your purpose that you're looking for, yes. This is about as good as you're gonna get. 05:58 You'll never completely get that filter unblocked. Okay. Even the perfect guys, everything. Perfect. 06:03 You're gonna have some that you gotta look at this plant and where it's at in its cycle. I mean, we're sitting here right now at over 2200 gdu. Yeah. 06:10 23, 2400 gdu. It's tired. Look at what it's pulled up and what it's already done, you know? Yeah. So we gotta look at where it's at in a cycle in the life cycle. 06:18 And we're in good shape. The color of it, I'm, I'm ha happy here. We're gonna be shelling this corn in three weeks. Yeah. You know, weeks. 06:25 So the thing is that root is, has this been a limiting factor? Is there, would this corn have, is there anything you look at this and say, yeah, 06:32 there's this one little problem that I think is gonna hold us back. Look, had this been less blockage, it would've been better. But this is not bad. 06:38 No, I'm not worried with this. I'm pretty happy with this stalk overall. It only shot one set above the ground. That's excellent. Okay. 06:45 This is about as good as you're gonna get. Yeah. Got It. So that's why we're talking about roots. You know, what you look at when you go to field day like this. I'm glad, uh, 06:51 I learned something every episode and I'm sure you do too. Damien Mason with Mark Coutts, with Tiva, uh, 06:56 and with Shannon Henderson of XT Extreme Mag. Till next time, talking about roots. And uh, 07:00 I know this is gonna be educational to somebody if you share it with them, so please do Sore

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