Though global temperatures are warming, climate change is not going to eliminate the possibility of low temperature stress. In fact, the risk from chilled temperatures below the optimum growing conditions for tropical, subtropical or even temperate plants will be more erratic than ever.
Growers looking to endure these extremes might embrace more cold-weather resilient crops (arugula, broccoli, carrots, etc.) or invest in frost-control equipment to maintain profits in spite of temperature dips. Yet when temperatures plummet without forewarning, growers still need their crops to thrive in spite of this type of abiotic stress – and seaweed crop inputs are a valuable part of the solution.
What Happens to Plants with Chill-Related Stress?
When ambient temperatures around chill-sensitive crops fall below 5° C to 15°C (41°F to 59°F), the tissues and cells within plants struggle to carry out their normal functions. This can cause an increase in plant respiration, interference in energy production, reduction in photosynthesis, alteration in cellular structure and other harmful side effects.
What’s the impact on crops and yields? It’s not good. Tropical, subtropical or temperate plants subjected to chill-related stress are prone to external lesions, surface pitting, internal discolorations, tainted flavoring, difficulties ripening or even decay. What’s worse is that a world of damage can be done in a short period of below-optimum temperatures.
Giving Crops a Boost in Resiliency
If chill stress can happen during gestation right up until harvest, how can growers adequately prepare their crops? One key response is to stimulate plants with the right blend of bioactive compounds.
For example, our seaweed crop inputs provide plants with a natural source of betaines, a bioactive compound found in stress-tolerant plants that better regulates water, salinity and other substances within their cells. The challenge is that not all plants biosynthesize betaines on their own, and even when they do, they don’t always possess the amount necessary to encourage resilience. Low temperature stress demands an emergency supply.
In fact, studies have shown that the over-accumulation of glycine betaine in wheat protected and stabilized protein complexes and the photosynthetic process. Plants were better equipped to turn the solar rays and CO2 into energy – without the typical struggle as temperatures dropped. If crops have the right blend of bioactive compounds from seaweed at their disposal, growers can increase the overall survival rate, resulting in higher yields and performance during stressful times.
Though chilling temperatures aren’t going to disappear, growers can expand the success of their response by adding a little seaweed in the mix.
Prepare for low temperature stress before your crops suffer. Contact one of our sales reps to learn the results you can receive with Acadian Kelp™ products.