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Hi-Tech Farming: A discovery by an international team of scientists could lead to soil compaction-resistant crops.

Tom J Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

April 2, 2021

3 Min Read
young plant emerging from soil
OVERCOMING SOIL COMPACTION: Scientists believe their discovery of a plant signal that causes roots of plants like this one to stop growing in hard soils could lead to development of soil-compaction resistant plants.Tom J Bechman

No one creates soil compaction on purpose. But wouldn’t it be great if plants could be programmed to bore on through it?

Impossible? An international team of researchers disagrees. According to an article published in Science in January, these researchers discovered what makes plant roots stop growing when they hit hard layers, and it’s not just physics. A signal produced by the plant, ethylene, causes roots to stop growing in hard soils. Once the signal is disabled, plant roots push through compacted soil.

“This knowledge will be crucial for breeding crops more resilient to soil compaction,” says Malcolm Bennett from the University of Nottingham. He notes that the team’s discovery opens new opportunities to select novel soil compaction-resistant crops.

Post corn herbicide

Acuron GT recently received EPA approval for post-emergence use in glyphosate-tolerant corn. Syngenta spokespersons say it will be available in 2021, pending state approvals.

This new herbicide combines Halex GT with the active ingredient bicyclopyrone. The result is longer-lasting residual control in glyphosate-tolerant corn. Ryan Lins with Syngenta, based in Minnesota, says the new herbicide delivered 90% control of both large and small-seeded broadleaves in field trials. He notes it’s especially effective on giant ragweed, morningglory, cocklebur, Palmer amaranth and waterhemp. Acuron GT has four active ingredients and three sites of action. Visit

Weed control in cereals

Bayer launches Huskie FX to provide broad-spectrum control of broadleaf weeds in cereal crops. This includes improved efficacy against kochia.

This new formulation contains three modes of action to help with weed resistance management. Huskie FX includes fluroxypyr on top of pyrasulfotole and bromoxynil used in other Huskie product formulations. Visit

Biological solutions

FMC Corp. and Novozymes entered a strategic collaboration to research, develop and commercialize biological, enzyme-based crop protection solutions. The two companies will target the fungicide and insecticide markets.

One of the targets is a control for Asian Soybean rust, which would be combined with FMC’s diamide insecticide technology to control key insect pests. Look for enzymatic-based technology for pest control in the not-so-distant future from this venture. Visit

Getting a jump on pests

Biome Makers is a soil health innovator using proprietary technology to predict disease threads in fields at various times, even before planting. The 2015 startup now offers BeCrop Smart Agriculture, which provides soil analysis along with GIS map layers, plus knowledge from microbial population tools. The company’s Gheom crop input testing protocol helps ag biofertilizer makers and other input manufacturers validate claims based on effects on the soil microbiome.

To get a handle on what disease threats might be lurking in your fields, check out the company’s services. Visit

Know about Solinftec

If you haven’t heard the name Solinftec, get familiar with it. Based in Aracatuba, Sao Paulo, Brazil, and West Lafayette, Ind., it is already driving ag digitalization across 22 million acres globally.

Solinftec partnered with IBM to utilize weather data and forecasting from The Weather Co., an IBM business, coupled with its own sophisticated algorithms and artificial intelligence to provide real-time decision-making solutions related to weather.

Meanwhile, Solinftec and Ceres Solutions, an Indiana-based cooperative serving Indiana and Michigan, combined forces to improve efficiency of custom application services. Solinftec’s AI-driven scheduling integrates with Ceres Solutions’ work order system. Visit

About the Author(s)

Tom J Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

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