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Marcotting or air layering, an asexual or vegetative method of plant propagation, can be easily performed with less skill. Air layering is just slightly different from other methods of layering such as tip layering, simple layering, compound or serpentine layering, etc. In all these methods, the induction of root development is usually done by wounding the part of the plant to be rooted.
In this layering method, roots are induced to form on the part of the plant while it remains aerial (aboveground), hence the term air layering. But in other layering methods, the same plant part is rooted on the ground with stem usually by bending it downward.
Common Procedures in Marcotting
1. Plant and Shoot Selection
A shoot with plenty of leaves is chosen from a healthy plant. The size of the stem at the part to be rooted is generally about that of an ordinary pencil, but this is not essential. Both the thickness and length of the stem vary depending on the plant part to be layered (trunk, branch or twig), the intended size of the air layer to be produced, and the plant species.
In roses, the stems used in marcotting are normally thinner. In comparison, in herbaceous plants like aglaonema and dieffenbachia, the stems are thick.
2. Girdling and Scraping
This is unique in marcotting. However, this procedure is skipped in bamboo and herbaceous plants. For trees, shrubs and semi-woody plants, a strip of bark is first removed from around the portion of the stem to be rooted. This involves pressing of a sharp knife against the bark preferably as close as possible below a node, moving the knife in circular motion around the stem. A similar cut is made generally about 2 cm to 5 cm below the first cut, but it can be wider with larger stems. The two cuts are then connected by a straight cut and the bark is pried loose and removed.
The debarked portion of the stem is then scraped to remove the phloem and cambium, that slippery coating on the wood, to prevent the wound from healing and the upper and lower barks from reconnecting.
3. Slitting and Wedging
In herbaceous plants, an inward cut is made starting from below a node and slightly upward. The cut has to traverse the horizontal line that marks the node at the point about halfway of the thickness of the stem and terminate above the same node. In other words, this slanting cut must be able to severe the horizontal connection of the node.
Coir dust, sphagnum moss or a piece of wood or any other suitable material is then inserted into the wound to serve as wedge. The purpose of this wedge is to keep the upper and lower cut surfaces apart and prevent healing just like in girdling and scraping.
4. Placing and Securing the Rooting Medium
A slightly moistened sphagnum moss or coconut coir dust is placed around the debarked stem and wrapped with a piece of plastic sheet. A transparent plastic sheet is preferred to be able to see later if roots have developed. In many plant species, however, the stems can be marcotted even with pure soil.
The rooting medium may be as thick as 1 inch (2.5 cm) from side to side or bigger depending on the earliness to develop roots and size of the stem. The longer is the time required to induce rooting and the bigger is the stem. The thicker should be the rooting medium.
Both ends of the plastic sheet are gathered and tied securely against the stem, with one end just under the bottom part of the debarked stem (lower cut) and the other a short distance above the upper part (upper cut). It is important that the upper cut should be covered with the rooting medium. Because it is from this cut that roots form.
As an alternative. The plastic sheet may be placed first on the stem with one end tied just below the lower cut. The rooting medium is then inserted gradually and. The upper end of the plastic wrapping is tied securely to the stem. This technique is more convenient and applies with any rooting medium which crumbles if not held by the hand.
To prevent breaking of the stem with big and heavy rooting medium. It is tied to another branch or to a stick attached to the parent plant.
In stems which are more or less erect, the rooting medium can be held by any container. Such as broken or halved pots, cans or plastic cups with open top. For big containers, a support is needed to prevent them from dropping.
A container can be made also with a relatively thick plastic sheet with the bottom gathered and. Tied just below the lower cut and the top is expanded to form a shape like that of a funnel. The sides are overlapped and stapled.
In plants which easily root like Ficus and croton or san francisco (Codiaeum variegatum). This funnel-shaped container can be made out of some thick leaves. The sides are secured in place by piercing with a stick. The container is then filled with rooting medium which is kept moist by regular watering.
5. Separation of the Air Layer or Marcot From the Parent Plant
The rooted shoots are severed from the parent plant when plenty of roots have developed. At this time the rooting medium becomes hard and rough when touched. New shoots will also have sprouted from the portion of the stem immediately below the rooting medium. In many plant species this occurs at least 15 days from marcotting.
The marcotted shoot is immediately potted into suitable container. The intensity of care that will ensure the successful establishment of the layers will depend on various factor. Such as size of the shoot, size of the rooting medium, and profuseness of roots. For maximum survival, the newly potted layers are kept under partial shade and high humidity.
Suggestion: try it on croton (san francisco) or balete (Ficus spp.). By actually doing it, you will realize very shortly how easy it is to propagate plants by marcotting.
Source: Lets Talk Agric
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For every farmer when you have seeds that take too long to germinate, there are some methods of overcoming seed dormancy for planting. But you will first need to know what dormancy really mean before you take any step.
Seed dormancy is the inability of seeds to germinate under the required conditions for germination. It may be due to physical or physiological conditions of a viable seed. Seed dormancy affects crop establishment, growth and harvest and uniformity of seed development and maturation. The un-germinated dormant seed that remain in the soil will produce unwanted plants or volunteer plants in future.
In some crops, dormancy may be desirable when it prevents pre-harvest and post-harvest sprouting or germination during wet weather thereby maintaining seed quality or quality of planting material. Dormancy also protects the entire crop against total loss during drought.
Causes of seed dormancy
Certain factors may cause seed dormancy too and this could be due to;
Immature embryo. E.g. lettuce
Seed coat impermeable to water. E.g. okra, mungbean and amaranthus
Seed coat impermeable to gas. E.g. cucumber, lettuce and beets
Presence of germination inhibitors. E.g. phenolic compounds such as abscissic acid (ABA) and caffeic acid. These acids can be found in beets.
Physiological immaturity (absence of some growth substances or excess amount of inhibitors than promoters)
Mechanical restriction to seedling growth by seed coat. E.g. amaranthus and corchorus.
Examples of growth inhibitors include; cyanide, ammonia compounds, mustard oil, alkaloids (e.g. caffeic acid and cocaine), organic acids or compounds, unsaturated lactose, phenolic compounds, synthetic growth retarders and essential oils.
Overcoming seed dormancy
Use of suitable temperature regime:
Use the correct optimum temperature and alternating temperatures. E.g. 8hrs at 300C and 16hrs at 200C. Pre-chilling moist seeds at 5-80C.
Modification of seed coat:
It can be modified by cutting e.g. mango, milling to remove apparent appendages, scarification by abrasion or use of chemicals, e.g. acetone, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide. The use of chemicals requires that correct dosage per species is applied to avoid injury.
Removal or neutralization of growth inhibitors
Chemical treatment of the seed;
E.g. potassium nitrate, hydrogen peroxide, plant growth regulators (PGR) such as GA3 (Gibberellins), Auxins, cytokinins and ethylene.
Credit: Lets talk agric
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In animal farming, what every farmer need to know is to study the principles of inheritance of animals. That is if you want to improve breeds of livestock. This is concerned with how animals inherit features from their ancestors. In genetics, it tries to identify which features are inherited and work out the details of how these features are passed from generation to generation.
Improving Breeds of Livestock
Animal genetics has a broad range of activities, specialties, and training. In the basic sciences, animal geneticist try to understand gene functions and how these affect important traits such as growth, reproduction, disease resistance, or behavior. Animal geneticist who map genes take the reverse approach; they observe and measure traits and try to find the genes that cause them.
As a farmer if you wants to improve you the genetics of your breeds of livestock you will have to consult animal geneticist with more mathematical and computer skills work in bioinformatics, where they will analyze and interpret the genetic code across the type of breed species you have. Animal geneticist relate what they learn about gene location and function in simple life forms such as worms, zebra fish, and fruit flies to more agriculturally relevant animals such as cattle, pigs’ chickens, turkeys, sheep, horses, fish, shellfish, or even honey bees.
These geneticist work with populations to understand evolution and forces changing our natural populations. These geneticist will teach you new mating strategies for crossbreeding or will use marker-assisted selection to improve a wide range of economically important traits.
When you are finding it difficult to locate some animal geneticists, well these are some places they might be working; animal pharmaceutical companies, breeding companies, breed associations for various commodities, hatcheries, universities or the federal government.
Companies hire geneticists to develop new drugs to combat diseases, Also develop methods to identify genetically superior animals. Design precision mating systems or precision management systems develop methods. That enable parentage and identity verification for traceability, manage our genetic resources, protect wildlife and ensure sustainably of animal resources. Colleges and universities may hire geneticists for all levels of research, teaching, and outreach.
Qualification of animal geneticist to improve your breeds of livestock
When you are looking for an animal geneticist you the farmer will have to make sure he/she has first earn a bachelor’s degree with broad training in across the sciences. The person could earn a degree in animal science, biology, biochemistry, poultry science, diary science, forestry, entomology, or conservation biology. You can also check to know if the person has a master’s degree or doctorate that is if you want a real specialist to do a good job for you.
As an animal breeder you will have to engage in genetic experiments each time there is a plan for mating. The type of mating that is selected will depend on the type of goal you want. For a farmer if you are much interested in breeds of animals you will to first understand. How to manipulate genes within your breeding stock to produce the kinds of animal you want. You the farmer will also need to understand the animal species. You need to also make sure that an appropriate and optimal environment is produced for raising the animals to maturity.
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Have you thought about hatching chick in an egg incubator ?. It can be a fun project for yourself or to do with your kids. If you don’t already keep a flock, obtain some fertile eggs from a fellow chicken keeper or have fertile eggs shipped from a hatchery that offers a specific breed you’re interested in. While store-bought incubators are convenient and offer additional features, building your own homemade incubator can yield excellent results.
Our egg incubator design uses a plastic foam cooler to insulate the eggs and keep the heat from the light bulb from escaping, and we built an outer case from 1⁄2-inch plywood to protect the foam. However, there are many variations that can be just as successful. Feel free to modify these ideas to incorporate the parts you already have or can easily obtain.
How Egg Incubator Work
The goal of an egg incubator is to maintain a temperature of 97 to 101 degrees F at all times. Here, we’re building a simple still-air incubator, meaning it has no fan to circulate the air. (An egg incubator with a fan is called a forced-air incubator.) Because of this, you should aim for a higher temperature of 101 degrees F. Your eggs need a humidity of 50 to 55 percent for first 18 days, and 65 percent or more for the last three.
If your incubator get too dry, your eggs may not hatch. To control the humidity, adjust the amount of water in the baking pan. If you’re not getting enough humidity, you can try adding a sponge to the pan; this should help bring more moisture into the environment.
For the first 18 days, your eggs must be turned over two or three times per day. To help keep track, use a pencil to mark an X on one side and an O on the other to help you remember which side is which. During the last three days, you should not disturb your eggs at all—no turning.
What You’ll Need
- 2 11-by-16½-inch plywood pieces, 1⁄2-inch thick (outer case short sides)
- 2 11-by-27¼-inch plywood pieces, 1⁄2-inch thick (outer case long sides)
- 1 16½-by-26¼-inch plywood piece, 1⁄2-inch thick (outer case base)
- 25½-by-13-by-16-inch plastic foam cooler
- plastic light fixture
- two 1⁄2-inch screws
- light fixture housing box
- two 5⁄8-inch screws
- grounded electric power cord
- 40-watt bulb
- electric water heater thermostat switch
- digital thermometer/hydrometer
- 5-by-7-inch piece of glass or plastic (from a picture frame)
- 12-by-8-inch disposable aluminum baking pan
- cooling rack
- small towel
- wood glue
- 1-inch nails
- tape measure
- wood-boring drill bit
- wood bit
- clear tape
- serrated knife
- razor knife
- wire cutters
Using wood glue and 1-inch nails, create a five-sided cube, leaving the top open. Use the 16½-by-26¼-inch piece of plywood as a base. Add the two 11-by-16½-inch plywood pieces to create the short sides. Finally, use the two 11-by-27¼-inch pieces to add the long sides.
Next, begin the slightly messy job of making some cuts to the cooler. On the back of the cooler, toward one side, use a pencil to score the rough shape of the light fixture housing box (as shown). Then carefully cut this shape out of the plastic foam. Keep a vacuum cleaner handy!
Insert the fixture box into its hole. You’ll also need to drill a 3⁄4-inch hole in the wooden case right behind the box to allow for the electrical cord. Once that is complete, you can screw the housing box to the plywood case with 5⁄8-inch screws.
A glass window on the top of the egg incubator is very handy for allowing you to monitor the temperature, humidity and eggs without opening the lid. Again, score the outline of the 5-by-7-inch piece of glass. Then use a serrated knife to cut out the plastic foam slightly to the inside (1⁄4 inch), so that hole is a bit too small. Cut a small “shelf” for the glass to sit on, so that when you’re all finished, the glass sits flush with the cooler lid. Use some clear tape to smoothly attach the edges of the glass in place.
The unhatched chicks need air to breathe—they actually breathe right through their eggshells—so it’s important to add ventilation to your egg incubator. Using a drill and a 1⁄2-inch wood bit, carefully drill a series of 1⁄2-inch holes into the plastic foam. There are no hard-and-fast rules, so this is another aspect you can experiment with. You might opt to add more holes, even adding holes through the wooden outer case. If you think your incubator is getting too much of a draft, you can re-cover some of the ventilation holes with tape.
Now you’ll need to do some simple wiring for the light fixture and thermostat switch. Using a razor knife, strip away about 8 inches of the outer casing of the grounded electrical cord. Snip off the ground (green) wire and set it aside for later use. Feed the black and white wires through the hole in the fixture box. Leave black in the middle, but feed the white wire off through the side.
As with all things electrical, safety is a primary concern when building and using your incubator. Don’t plug the egg incubator in until you’re sure the wiring is correct. If you’re new to wiring or electrical procedures, seek help from someone knowledgeable.
Attach the thermostat switch to the cooler wall, somewhere near the light bulb. (We screwed right into the plastic foam, but you could also use tape or glue.) Attach the white wire to one of the thermostat screws, and then use that leftover piece of ground wire to connect the other screw back to the fixture box.
Attach the black wire to the brass screw on the light fixture and the other wire to the silver. Screw the light fixture into the housing box, and insert a 40-watt light bulb, which will serve as your heat source.
You’ll need a simple water source to add humidity to the egg incubator. A disposable aluminum baking pan works great, though you can use just about any container. You’ll also need somewhere to place the eggs: an elevated cooling rack worked great for us. (To keep the eggs from rolling around, place them on a small towel.) Don’t forget to add in your thermometer/hydrometer.
Turn on your egg incubator, and monitor your setup for a day or two prior to adding eggs to make sure that you have the temperature and humidity correct and to give you time to make any necessary adjustments. When you’re satisfied things are good to go, put in your eggs.
Modifications To Your Incubator
These directions are for a still-air incubator—aka, one without a fan—but you can modify the plan to add a fan for air circulation. Many people have success recycling a simple used 12-volt cooling fan from an old computer. If you decide to go this route, you’ll need a 12-volt DC converter.
The water heater thermostat is great because it constantly measures the ambient air temperature and automatically turns on or shuts off the light bulb as needed to maintain the target temperature, which is adjustable with the switch. Some people building homemade incubators swap the thermostat for a dimmer switch and control the temperature by brightening or dimming the light, but this requires more attention and fine-tuning to maintain ideal warmth while the water heater thermostat does this for you. If you find your thermostat is allowing too much of a temperature swing, you can experiment with increasing or decreasing its distance from the light bulb.
Understand that incubating eggs properly is challenging, and 100-percent success rates aren’t always possible. Even slight shifts in temperature or humidity can be enough to cause some eggs to fail, so be prepared for that ahead of time.
Credit: Lets Talk Agric.
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