Have recent temperature fluctuations hardened the winter crops?

Have recent temperature fluctuations hardened the winter crops?

A record-breaking warm New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are behind us, with thermometers in Warsaw and Lower Silesia showing 16o C during the day and around 10o C at night. It was no different in other parts of the country. On 1 January, the infamous heat record for the month also fell, which was as high as 19o C and was recorded in a village in the Malopolska region. The situation mentioned is, of course, a weather anomaly and does not fit in with the temperature norms for winters in our latitude and is certainly not indifferent to winter crops.

Probably many of us remember the winters during which it was possible to skate on the school ice rink made by the firemen. This was at a time when the weather in Poland was more stable and did not record such large fluctuations as it does today. Meanwhile, the latest figures show that the increase in the average temperature for the winter period has risen by up to 2o C and is continuing to rise. Climate change affects the agricultural sector in particular, as it is inextricably linked to the impact of seasonal weather patterns on the final harvest.

Are we dealing with creeping vegetation?
As a reminder, in the absence of snow cover, the lower limit for winter rape and winter wheat is around -15o C. Plants can survive much lower temperatures of up to -25o C if several conditions are met, such as proper hardening, optimum growth phase before winter dormancy and the above-mentioned snow. However, according to the knowledge contained in agronomy textbooks, spring vegetation starts when there is an average daily temperature of at least 5o C for at least three days.

So far, this year’s winter has turned out to be quite mild – apart from temperature drops slightly below zero and snowfalls in a few regions at the beginning of December, it is difficult to find situations that would pose a risk of winterkill. The problem can be traced back to the high temperatures mentioned in the introduction, which do not fully harden the winter plants. We are referring in particular to the Lesser Poland, Opole and Lower Silesia regions, where the soil temperature was far too high for the plants to stop growing.

Frost in winter crops? Use imPROver+ and BaktoTarcza P
In plantations where creeping vegetation is observed, nutrient uptake is occurring all the time. If we assume that the rest of the winter will be equally mild, then plants on nitrogen-poor sites will be deficient in this element. The weather forecasts for the next few days do not predict drastic drops in temperatures which fuels concerns about adequate hardening.

Let us not forget that mild thermal conditions are also an excellent opportunity for the proliferation of pathogens. Diseases such as dry rot of brassicas, grey mould and black crucifers can cause real losses to the oilseed rape crop. An appropriate approach to fungicide protection of plants is a necessity. The solutions offered by agrobiotechnology can be effective in this case. One such product is BaktoTarcza P, a probiotic for plants based on bacteria of the genus Bacillus and Pseudomonas in the highest concentration on the market, which, by colonising the phyllosphere of plants, form a kind of microbiological barrier positively influencing the health and regenerative properties of plants – including the speed of wound healing and thus closing the ‘infection window’.

Healing of wounds in winter oilseed rape 3 days after frost. 5 days after the BaktoTarcza P treatment.P.

The experience of previous years has shown that there can be no winter without temperatures falling to -10o C even a few days before the start of calendar spring. How can the negative effects of severe frost be prevented? We recommend the use of the imPROver+ growth stimulator.

ImPROver+ is a product with years of proven effectiveness. It consists of simple phenolic compounds, naturally occurring in plants and secreted in response to stress factors. when applied before a stress factor (i.e. frost), imPROver+ has the effect of increasing plant resistance while improving plant vigour. The plants are thus better able to withstand drastic drops in temperature, which can generate irreversible losses.

Neither the scenario of a mild, warm winter nor the scenario of biting frosts accompanied by snowfall is optimistic. However, the achievements of modern agrobiotechnology, in the form of microbiological preparations, are able to minimise the negative effects of undesirable atmospheric factors, thereby allowing higher and better quality yields to be achieved.

For detailed information on our products, please contact the Bio-Lider and PROCAM Poland agronomists.