The BigYield Spotlight – Heat Stress on Crops

Kent Kauffman discusses the effect heat has on crops.

Listen to Kent Kauffman of the team and Kyle Hill, Ag 1280 Farm Director, each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on Ag 1280 KDKD-AM. The segments air at 7:15 am and again at 12:15 pm.

This segment originally aired on June 7, 2017.

Audio Transcription

Kyle: Welcome back for another BigYield Spotlight. I’m visiting with Kent Kauffman of It’s good to be visiting with you today.

Kent: Thank you Kyle.

Kyle: And of course summer is approaching. It’s starting to warm up a bit so let’s talk about the heat and how it stresses crops.

Kent: As all farmers are aware, heat and dry conditions will kill yield. Too much heat lowers the ability of the plant to have CO2 inside of it. It also inhibits the ability of photosynthetic enzymes like rubisco. It also inhibits the production of ATP, which basically provides the chemical energy for the plants biochemical reactions. It’s a triple whammy. Your plants don’t have enough CO2 inside, they can’t take in that CO2 and split it, and they can’t power their own chemical reactions because of the heat.

Kyle: What about soil temperature?

Kent: Hot soils can actually be more damaging than the hot air. The high temperature in that soil leads to evaporation of water and a much higher usage rate of water from the plant, to keep up with how much it is losing to the air. So it’s cumulative. The faster the water evaporates, the more the plant wants it. The faster the plant wants it, the faster it evaporates. It can also lead to root clumping, which reduces water intake again, which leads to more root clumping. It’s all cumulative.

Kyle: When is the most damaging time for heat stress.

Kent: The most damaging time for heat stress is the flowering stages and the reproductive stages of the plant.

Kyle: What can growers do about it.

Kent: The first thing growers can do if they’re lucky enough is to have irrigation. Not all farmers have that, but it is very good to put that water in the soil. One of the things when you’re irrigating, when the temperature increases, it can be beneficial just to add a slight amount of water, a quarter-inch or so, even if your soil isn’t necessarily dry. It cools down your plants. It has also been shown that corn planted with cover crops can have a soil temperature 8 to 10 degrees cooler than if it had been bare earth. Especially when that sun is beating down at 100 degrees in the middle of July. This can be good or bad, for instance if you are in March or April and have a cooler soil temperature. So, it just depends on where you are at and what would work best for you. Also, research has shown that proper soil fertility will minimize the effect of heat. That is with sufficient macro and micro nutrients. One of the things you can do about that is we have a product called BigSweetYield DB. It is great for maximizing soil fertility when your plants need it the most.

Kyle: So what is BigSweetYield DB?

Kent: BigSweetYield DB is a foliar application. It contains our cold-processed sweetener, our biological, and our 7 micronutrients that has a shot of N, P, & K. So what it does, is our cold-processed sweetener will increase the plants Brix and glucose levels. Our biological jump-starts the microbial activity in the soil, and our seven micros give a plant those resources when it needs it the most. We recommend applying our BigSweetYield DB during the reproductive stages of our crops. I’ll even make a run over crops here on the farm when we have 5 days of high heat with no rain and high winds – kind of like we did last year during June and July. What happens is you don’t only get a yield bump when you apply during those stressful times, but it keeps the crops in top health during high stress times, which allows them to fight insect and disease pressure. I had a lot less disease issues and fungus – like rust – issues in those fields that I was able to hit during that heat wave last year.

Kyle: BigSweetYield DB is what we’re talking about today with heat stress. If somebody has questions about that Kent, or any of the other products available with BigYield, how can they get ahold of you?

Kent: They can get ahold of us on our website, We have a great deal of information and videos there. They can call us at 816-773-6096. They can also stop by the research farm on 7 highway, west of Garden City. We have giant signs and you aren’t going to miss it.

Kyle: You’re not going to miss it indeed. Kent Kauffman of Looking forward to another trip out there, I was out there earlier this season and it’s a wonderful facility there and excellent tests going on as well. Helping out farmers near and far.

Kent: Thank you for coming Kyle.

Kyle: We’ll be speaking with you again soon on another BigYield Spotlight.

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