Some basics about crop energy status through growth
At the onset of growth and under ideal circumstances crops’ energy mainly depends on radiation and leaf area. At this growth stage the crop is able to invest heavily in its root system without jeopardising its potential production capacity. This is of-course a good strategy of crops to harness themselves for the more difficult growth stages ahead. At crop closure, leaves start to overlap and competition for light between plants starts to take place. Light levels start to diminish now. Plants at those stages experience more and more energy shortages pushing the plants towards a survival mode which is known as the reproductive stage. Flowers and fruits are formed and filled and the energy status of the crop will define final crop yield. It goes without saying that any additional stress during crop life, either by water, temperatures, salt, pests or diseases will negatively affect final crop yield. The basis of good crop management is thus to understand the relationship between environment, crop behaviour and crop requirements in order to minimise the loss of crops’ energy.