Wheat crop is developing quite rapidly now – the warm weather and moist conditions previously blogged are continuing and the crop is responding.
As you can see from the images the crop now has two distinct leaves and this Growth Stage is classified as GS 1-2. (1 denotes the fact the leaves arer present and 2 denotes the number of leaves visible). The protective coleoptile is still visible but this has finished its job and is remaining at the soil level.
At this stage the crop is simply concentrating on root and leaf development – the roots are taking in soil water and nutrients, as a result the leave are developing & are harnessing the suns energy via the vital process of photosynthesis.
I would say that crop production is quite simply enhancing plant root and leaf growth to enable photosynthetic energy to be harnessed to the maximum. It has been said that if we could increase the amount of the suns energy we harness by just a few % then food production could be increased ten-fold. I have not yet researched this in detail but i must admit it seems plausible. Most of the the suns energy lands on bear ground or water, so if we can increase the surface area of crop production plants grown it stands to reason we can increase food production. But that is for another blog on another day.
The next leaves are already under development and will soon soon be visble and the crop will be moving from GS 1-2 through to GS 1-4 in a few weeks. At the same time the tillers will be developing at the leaf axis of each leaf, each of these tillers will be stong enough to eventually develop into a stem and will bear the ear, and contribute to the grain yield. The 5,6,7th etc leaves will also develop into later tillers but these do not usually develop into reproductive growth and will die back in the spring, however its is worth noting these ‘late tillers’ do store valuable stem carbohydrate reserves. The next stage in the crops development will be leaves 3-6 being visible and then the tillers will start to become visible. More tillers = more gound cover, more ground cover = more photosynthesis, so please check back for more updates and see the development almost as it happens.