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Proactive Farming: The Key to Less Stress


Stress: You can’t avoid it, but you can manage it. While stress is inevitable, its consequences are not. Stress impacts crop yield and performance, from harsh weather to nutrient shortages and water scarcity.

Failing to proactively manage stress can lead to up to a 50% decrease in profitability. But, by understanding how stress impacts your crops and focusing on one simple task, you can help plants become more resilient and overcome stress events.

Understanding Types of Crop Stress

First, it’s important to understand the two types of stress a crop can encounter.

Imagine your crops as athletes training for a big game. Abiotic stressors are like the weather conditions or the playing field itself, while biotic stressors are like the opposing team. Let's break it down further.

Examples of Abiotic Crop Stressors

  • Weather Extremes: These include droughts, floods, extreme temperatures (both hot and cold) and erratic weather patterns. They can directly damage crops or disrupt their growth cycles.

  • Soil Conditions: Poor soil quality, soil compaction and soil erosion can limit nutrient availability, root growth and overall plant health.

  • Chemical Stress: This involves exposure to pollutants, pesticides, herbicides and chemical imbalances in the soil, which can affect plant metabolism and growth. One herbicide application can shut down a plant for two weeks as it focuses on metabolizing the chemical.

Examples of Biotic Crop Stressors

  • Pests and Diseases: Insects, fungi, bacteria (not the good kind 😉), viruses and weeds can all attack crops, causing damage to leaves, stems, roots and fruits. They compete with crops for nutrients and can transmit diseases.

  • Weed Competition: Weeds compete with crops for resources like water, sunlight and soil nutrients. They can reduce crop yields and quality if not controlled effectively.

  • Herbivores: Animals like deer, rodents and birds can feed on crops, causing significant damage—especially during vulnerable growth stages.

Understanding and preparing for both abiotic and biotic stressors is crucial for maintaining healthy and productive crops.

The Key to Crop Stress Tolerance

If these stress events can’t be avoided, what can we do instead?

Our focus should be on building plant-available nutrient levels. When a plant has sufficient access to essential nutrients, it can exert less energy searching for nutrition and, instead, reserve that energy for combatting stress events. Plus, many essential nutrients have specific stress-fighting capabilities, creating a one-two punch for defending against stress events.

In a time where farmers have endless questions about what they should be doing, building nutrient levels is a goal you don’t have to wonder about. Let’s dive into how to effectively improve your soil and crop nutrition.

Building Nutrient Levels for Resilient Crops

Like we said, there is one simple task that makes all the difference in nourishing plants and combatting stress: building WEOC.

Water-extractable organic carbon, or WEOC, is the not-so-secret weapon behind top-performing crops. This form of carbon is the key to unlocking plant-available forms of nearly all essential nutrients.

WEOC levels can be built through increased organic matter, microbial activity, root exudates and more. BW Fusion’s biological crop nutrition products accomplish each of these tasks. Some of the best products for proactively building nutrient levels include BW-AmiNo, Full Sun and *new* Relax Rx.

By focusing on building WEOC levels in the soil, you’re creating a self-sustaining crop that can unlock nutrients in the soil and nourish itself from within. Plus, you can keep your wallet in your back pocket as you cut down on field passes for unnecessary product applications.

Pro Tip: Use Agronomy 365’s in-season sampling program to monitor WEOC levels in your fields.

Being proactive now and focusing on growing strong, resilient plants saves you stress on your mind, your wallet and your crop all season long.

Stress less this season. Turn your plants into nutrient powerhouses.

To learn more about how crop nutrition impacts stress tolerance, watch our latest webinar.

Maybe my dollars are better spent on Full Sun and AmiNo instead of an insurance policy
(Post hail event in Nebraska that stripped the field of corn)