Growth isn’t always good
Excessive plant growth can reflect hormonal imbalance
Contrary to popular belief, plant growth is not directly linked to an increase in yield. For example, in beans, excessive vegetative development can lead to self-shading, a condition in which the lower leaves, where the productive areas of the plant are located, do not receive sunlight. This impedes photosynthesis, decreasing the productivity of the plant.
According to agronomist Fransérgio Batista, grain specialist and technical manager for Alltech Crop Science, this occurrence signifies a hormonal imbalance in the plant.
“There is a plant hormone, auxin, which is responsible for plant growth,” explained Batista. “When the plant develops excessively, it’s because there is too much of this hormone acting on the plant. This also inhibits the production of other hormones that are important to the plant.”
Intent on improving the balance of his bean crop, Joel Ragagnin, a grower from Jataí, in the state of Goiás, Brazil, added natural products that are based on plant extracts, nutrients and amino acids to his management practices. This combination aids the crop in balanced plant development.
“By having better control over plant growth, we can improve the productivity indexes on the farm,” said Ragagnin.
According to Batista, because photosynthesis is vital to the plant, keeping leaves green and healthy should be a prime objective of crop management.
“There are leaves from the lower to the upper parts of the plant,” said Batista. “A plant that produces is a plant that photosynthesizes in all its leaves. This is a key process for the plant.“
In addition to the use of crop inputs that contribute to the hormonal balance of the plant, the agronomist noted the importance of plant nutrition, the availability of water during the entire growth cycle and the control of pests and diseases for attaining adequate crop development.
“Through these methods, it’s possible for the producer to have an even more significant response,” concluded Batista.