RATE OF ROOT GROWTH AND SOIL

Getting to the root of things: Michelle Watt (L), Margaret McCully and John Kirkegaard.

  • Fast root growth outpaces deleterious soil biology and wheat varieties differ in their rate of root growth. Those with faster-growing roots are less likely to be affected by toxic bacteria (and other deleterious soil organisms such as
    Rhizoetonia).
  • Management practices such as use of deep points that loosen soil below the seed would allow seedling roots to grow fast and minimise colonisation by deleterious microbes (although the use of deep points may be harmful to the soil structure in the longer term - Ed).
  • Soil conditions, such as cool temperatures that limit growth rates of roots more than growth of deleterious microbes, would impact negatively on direct-drilled wheat seedlings. Early seeding may be beneficial.
  • Varieties with fast-growing roots may avoid physical and biological constraint in no-till soil, and also improve the capture of water and nitrogen as they move down the soil profile during the season.

Contact: Dr Michelle Watt 02 6246 4902; email michelle.watt@csiro.au Dr Margaret McCully email margaret.mccully@csiro.au Dr John Kirkegaard email john.kirkegaard@csiro.au

Region North, South, West