Farmers can learn a lot from root ball diagnostics. Learn more in episode 5 of "Corn College TV" and head to the field with Farm Journal Associate Field Agronomist Missy Bauer.
"Farmers won’t know what is going on with root growth unless they do some digging," she says. "And midseason is a good time to see if you have issues with root development."
Changes in soil density can be extreme enough to restrict root growth and affect yield. These changes can be a horizontal layer from a tillage tool, and it’s important to identify any problem to know the necessary solution.
"When a farmer goes out to dig, he should make sure he is digging far enough away from the base of the plant. It’s important to dig outside of where the gauge wheels ran, and then dig all the way around the plant," she says.
Dig about 8" to 9" deep and lift the plant out of its hole.
"When you have a density layer, it’ll naturally want to break at that layer. So that tells you where the problem is," she says.
See more examples in this episode of "Corn College TV."