Root Health – key to better crop productivity

The need to grow more from less to address food security calls for new strategies to increase yield. Worldwide research increasingly points to Root Health as the key for next-generation crop productivity improvements.

Because they are out of sight, roots are often out of mind

It has been estimated that 80 per cent of all plant problems start with soil/root problems. Soil borne plant pathogens, underground insects and nematodes all threaten healthy root structures. Their effect often goes unnoticed until the end of the season, resulting in significant crop damage and yield losses. Abiotic stress conditions further impact the rate of water and nutrient uptake, and thus plant growth and yield. Stronger, healthier roots lead to improved crop performance under a wide range of conditions.

New research directions focus on healthy roots

The structure and growth habits of roots have a pronounced effect on the size and vigour of plants.

Stronger, healthier roots:

• Can better absorb water and nutrients; two of the most critical resources a plant needs.
• Lead to enhanced crop development at all critical stages and under a broad range of environmental conditions.
• Help produce stronger stems and foliage that better withstand environmental stress, especially in challenging climates.
• Protect the genetic potential of the crop and, ultimately, lead to improved yield.

New advancements in Root Health

Syngenta scientists have analysed the interactions between roots, diseases, moisture efficiency and nutrient utilisation. They have learned that a simple act like protecting crop roots from disease can have an enormous impact and unlock greater potential within the root system, leading to stronger crops and higher yield.

This research has resulted in a new active ingredient designed specifically for use as a seed treatment, commercialized in 2011 under the brand name VIBRANCE®. Worldwide field trials show more consistent yields on all major crops under a range of conditions.

Syngenta won the 2011 Agrow Award for Best New Crop Protection Product for VIBRANCE, underscoring its innovation in Root Health. Syngenta scientists were recognised with the 2014 Sandmeyer Award for their successful and innovative efforts in discovering, developing, and producing new broad-spectrum agrochemical fungicides.