Tillage practices determine the quality of root growth throughout the entire growing season. Farm Journal’s Associate Field Agronomist Missy Bauer says, "When evaluating your corn growth, the best thing to do is go into the field and start to dig up the root ball." Bauer discusses how to properly dig and evaluate roots in Episode 10 of Corn College TV Season 3.
"When we dig it up," she says, "we want to do it properly by digging outside of the gauge wheels where the planter ran." Hearing snaps when the plant is pulled out means that the roots had been growing healthy and there is a natural density layer in the field at that depth.
Next, clean the root ball up by shaking the plant. Chop off the brace roots to see what’s going on with the crown roots. Look at the base of the plant and look for the first three sets of crown roots because this is the most important root area that affects yield power. If these are growing between 35-45 degrees, consider your roots to be growing successfully.
To learn more about the importance of crown roots and how to evaluate the root system properly, watch Episode 10 of Corn College Season 3 below.