Saturday, July 19, 2014

Outstanding in the field #6

      The corn is definitely getting tall. It is well over Simon's head and the tassels are swaying in the breeze. My husband tells me that cool weather with  a little rain is perfect for pollination. Today the high temp is 82 degrees which is cool for mid July, and there is a chance for a small shot of rain later this afternoon.  It seems like every part of agriculture is dependent on the weather and I haven't found a farmer yet who can make the weather do what they want all the time.
       The corn is looking good and getting to our 20th row to get the picture is getting harder and harder. All the broad corn leaves get in the way of the picture and as I look at this sea of thick green I can't help but think of all the sunlight and carbon dioxide these plants are taking in and making wonderful clean air for us to breath. It smells so good in the field like fresh greenness.
      The soybeans are beautiful right now and as you can see they are starting to fill in the rows. Their leaves are velvety on the underside and look thick and lush. A healthy soybean field is one on my favorite sites when driving down the road.
       I took a picture of a corn brace root system because I find them interesting. The roots start out above the ground and from a stand to stabilize the plant from tipping over. A corn plant has to grow very tall quickly (as you've seen in the "outstanding" posts) and without a strong hold on the ground it would fall over with even the slightest breeze. Out here on the prairie the wind is a constant I have seen wind storms where the corn is blown over almost flat to the ground. It looks awful but slowly over time the corn will start to stand it's self up because of it's strong roots.
      Researchers have been modifying corn plants for a long time to help make plants that can produce more fruit, and perform better in the field.  The original corn plants that were planted by the settlers were much smaller and would have difficulty surviving the extreme weather that we have in the places corn is grown. Without modifying corn plants to suit the areas in which they are grown the area where that crop could be produced would be greatly limited. Different corn is needed for growth in Minnesota compared to Texas. Modification of corn root systems allows them to stand tall and go deep into the ground to absorb the water and nutrients the plant needs even in areas that might have limited water available. I find the power of science amazing.

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