How do crops respond to their environment?



The Drought Monitor Report as of 8 a.m. Tuesday, October 24, shows no significant changes in our region this week. Conditions are still regressing as western Kansas still has the best conditions statewide in terms of moisture. The 6-10 day outlook (October 31-November 4) shows a 60-70% chance of below-normal temperatures and a 33-50% chance of below-normal precipitation. . The 8-14 day outlook (Nov. 2-8) shows a 30-50% chance of above-normal temperatures and near-normal precipitation. Temperatures are trending toward slowing wheat development, but recent rain in some areas, which is quite variable around here, should help with germination and root establishment. We are in the middle of a period where we don’t have as much rainfall as normal.

Have you ever thought about plants and how they respond to their environment today? How can you avoid premature flowering or ensure that they flower and produce seeds before winter? • There are many other plants besides flowering plants, but let’s focus on flowering plants.? Among flowering plants, for example, there are annuals, biennials, and perennials. monocots (grass family) and dicots (broad-leaved plants). cool season and warm season plants. Finally, their place of origin in terms of climate (temperature, humidity, day length). With that in mind, what are some common reactions?

• For plant species whose day length varies considerably, such as above 23.5 degrees north or south of the equator, adjust flowering to match the day length. When summer annuals need to overcome subzero temperatures, increasing the length of consecutive nights is key to flowering. why? Days shorten long before temperatures cool, so you need to pay attention to photoperiod to ensure enough time to produce viable seeds. Amounts vary by species and hybrid/breed. For plants like winter wheat, wait until the day length increases. You are a short-night plant that prevents the start of the flowering process until you can most likely avoid sub-zero temperatures.

• For crops such as corn and sorghum, which come from regions close to the equator, growth stages and flowering are most closely related to heat accumulation.

• If you come from an area close to the equator, like alfalfa, you don’t really need to worry about it because the day length doesn’t change much.

• Another adaptation for plants like wheat is that no matter how good the fall growing season is or how much the plant grows, flower mimicry will not occur until the plant has accumulated a certain amount of cold.

• Other summer annuals, like many weed species, do not germinate until the seeds accumulate extreme cold, which prevents germination in the fall.

• Some seeds, especially summer annuals, do not germinate until a minimum soil temperature is reached.

• Finally, grasses protect themselves by keeping their growing points below the soil surface for long periods after emergence.

There are many other examples, but you get the idea. Plants are uniquely adapted to their environment. You can manipulate it to some extent, but there are limits.

Dr. Victor L. Martin is an agriculture instructor/coordinator at Barton Community College. Contact him at 620-792-9207 (ext.). 207, or

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