Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Andy Westhoven, AgriGold regional agronomistAt this point in the calendar, undoubtedly, there are many corn fields planted around the area. Just as undoubtedly, planting conditions will be like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears — some will be too cold and wet, some too hot and dry, and some just right. The role as an agronomist usually travels down the road of the first two situations in Goldilocks’ tale — less than ideal planting conditions. Somewhere in the eastern Corn Belt, after a corn field has been planted, a torrential rainfall will occur and/or there will be a cold period where a grower might wonder, “What is to become of the corn seed I just planted? How long can it last in the soil before rotting and dying?”Last season almost gave growers a false impression of corn emergence when most fields emerged in about 8 days. This is certainly not the norm. Most growers would average close to 12 to 14 days for corn to emerge year in and year out. It is a general understanding that corn seed treatments can last 3 weeks give or take. This is also the answer to the title question: How long can corn seed hold its breath? The answer is 3 weeks. The best way to improve upon a more rapid and uniform emergence is to plant into a warming trend.Easier said than done, right? From the time of planting the seed until emergence, the best defense a corn seed has is the seed treatment, as it does not have any natural defenses. Typical corn seed treatments consist of fungicide and insecticide protection. The fungicides usually play the larger part during the “hold my breath” moment.With temperatures in the mid to low 60s, field saturation, and cloudy weather are the perfect environment for slow to little corn seed growth and development. When a corn seed is not developing, pathogens — namely Pythium and Fusarium — could potentially attack a vulnerable seed. Once an infection occurs, it still could take up to several weeks to know the consequences. If the corn seed germinates and emerges, the disease could still ultimately kill the plant before it can “outgrow” the pathogen. In this case, the best advice is for warmer and drier weather for a period where the balance of power can be swayed back into the corn seed’s favor for rapid growth. Rapid growth is really the best medicine for a disease-infected corn seed or seedling.In addition to the disease threats, many insects prey on vulnerable seeds. During a prolonged emergence period, insects such as white grubs, wireworms, and seed corn maggot are the most common culprits to feed on corn seeds. While most seed treatments provide excellent protection in this arena, it is not uncommon to find hotspots in a field based on a variety of different reasons.Ironically enough when you consider a seed holding its breath, oxygen in the soil is another factor one must consider about seed viability/longevity in the soil. Any practice that reduces oxygen or pore space in the soil profile can also cause seed germination/emergence issues. Obviously, a wet, saturated field would qualify here. Outside of weather conditions, though, compaction can be a large threat.Compaction could be caused from heavy equipment. But, if one dives deeper, there is often planter compaction caused from too much down pressure. This is the pressure that is placed by the actual row unit being either too heavy and/or having too much pressure applied. Most of these can be reduced by planter settings, but still can be a hidden problem.In that ideal world, most would simply hit repeat of the 2018 spring season. Unfortunately, there is no easy button here and each year, farm, and field present unique challenges that keep all operators on their toes. Let’s hope that everyone finds that warming trend!
Finding articles online that extoll the many air-cleansing benefits of houseplants is a cinch, but the assertions are mostly hype with little grounding in fact. So writes Robinson Meyer in an article posted at The Atlantic as he debunks a popular claim of health bloggers and more than a few magazine articles. Typical of a pitch to buy more houseplants is this assertion from Katie Wells at her website Wellness Mama. “Houseplants are an effective, simple, and inexpensive way to purify indoor air.” Without citing a source for her claims, Wells goes on to specify which plants are most effective. The list includes bamboo palm, the rubber plant, and English ivy, among others. The same prescription for clean air can be found in any number of magazine articles, like this one in This Old House.RELATED ARTICLESAll About Indoor Air QualityHumidity, Mold, and Indoor Air QualityRanking Indoor Air Pollutants Where did all of this come from? The claims seem to have originated with a NASA scientist named Bill Wolverton, who in the late 1980s investigated whether houseplants would be capable of removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air in sealed space vehicles, Meyer writes. Wolverton’s 1989 report, summing up two years of research, found that potted houseplants have “demonstrated the potential for improving indoor air quality by removing trace organic pollutants from the air in energy-efficient buildings.” In considering the plight of people sealed into small spaces, Wolverton said, “If man is to move into closed environments, on Earth or in space, he must take along nature’s life support system.” In 1997, Wolverton followed up with a book, How to Grow Fresh Air. He provided a list of 50 plants that could help rid indoor air of such pollutants as ammonia, formaldehyde, and benzene, among others. Other research seemed to support the connection between clean indoor air and houseplants. The public was hooked. A new review is less enthusiastic But, Meyer says, a more recent view of nearly 200 studies shows the benefits of houseplants are significantly overstated. The review by Michael Waring, an engineering professor at Drexel University, and others found that while some plants can remove more VOCs than others in small, sealed chambers, none is very effective in a large room. It wasn’t Wolverton’s original study that was wrong, just that the benefits have since been overstated. Someone would have to be put 1,000 plants in a 10-foot-square room with an 8-foot ceiling to have the same air-cleaning capacity as changing the room air once per hour, Waring said. Even if you chose the most effective VOC-cleansing plant, you’d need one plant per square foot. In a presentation titled “Biowalls and Indoor Houseplants: Facts and Fiction,” Waring describes some of the research that followed Wolverton’s initial study and how the claims have been popularized. “I do not think that houseplants clean the air,” he told Meyer, a point of view echoed by other scientists that the writer contacted. Another study, this one led by Omed Abbass and published in the journal Building and Environment, looked at whether indoor house plants might be effective at removing ozone from indoor air. The result? “Calculations of effectiveness in a hypothetical indoor environment show, at best, modest contributions of about 0.9-9% indoor ozone removal effectiveness …” There are many other benefits to having houseplants — color to counter the drabness of winter, the fragrance of new blossoms, the simple joy of growing something — but cleaner air apparently isn’t one of them.
India’s Sameer Verma on Sunday clinched the men’s singles titles at the Hyderabad Open badminton tournament. The pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty won the men’s doubles title.Top seed Verma defeated Malaysia’s Soong Joo Ven 21-15 21-18 in the men’s singles summit clash of the USD 75,000 BWF Tour Super 100 tournament.Rankireddy and Shetty also came out victorious, beating third seeded Indonesian pair of Akbar Bintang Cahyono and Moh Reza Pahlevi Isfahani 21-16 21-14 to lift the men’s doubles crown.However, a hat-trick of titles eluded India as another top seeded local pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy came out second best in the mixed doubles final.@satwiksairaj / @Shettychirag04 wins in Men’s DoublesDoubles duo beat pair of Akbar Bintang Cahyono/Moh Reza Pahlev Isfahani in the final 21-16;21-14 to win the #HyderabadOpenSuper100 Men’s Doubles Title.Way to go guys!Many more to come. #IndiaontheRise #badminton pic.twitter.com/8asJTR8k1uBAI Media (@BAI_Media) September 9, 2018Chopra and Reddy toiled for 55 minutes before losing 15-21 21-19 25-23 against sixth seeds Akbar Bintang Cahyono and Winny Oktavina Kandow of Malaysia.(With PTI inputs)