Sunday, March 25, 2012

To N or Not To N, That is the Question

This past week Pat Lynch was gently admonishing me in an e-mail about nitrogen application on wheat.  Pat felt it was time to get on the bandwagon and get it done.  I was not as positive about the idea so Pat asked me what I was waiting for.  In his words "a sign from heaven"? 

There are more wheat fields that look rough in our neighbourhood than I initially thought.  These types of fields should get 40-50 lbs and field conditions are perfect to get this job done.  We also have time to do it.

I am not convinced that applying all our nitrogen in late March is wise.  The wheat plant will not use it and there is too much risk of  nutrient loss.  Both Michigan State and Ohio State extension services agree that N application should not happen yet.  Ohio State has data supporting delaying nitrogen application until stem elongation phase of plant development.  This is equal to growth stage zadoks 25-30 or feekes 6. 

Nitrogen applied at the beginning of stem elongation resulted in the same or higher yields as applying all the nitrogen at first green up.  The link to this article is posted below.

To be fair to Pat, his main concern is a lack of time if we wait this long.  It can interfere with corn planting.  Corn planting needs to take priority over applying N to wheat.  No argument there.

1 comment:

  1. my wheat is nine inches tall and no fertilizer must be pioneer seed wheat staffa farmer