Maximizing on nutrient applications can be beneficial. Knowing and understanding the weather and your crop is an important part of this process. Nitrogen is an important component in small grain production. However, sometimes it’s often applied in an untimely non-beneficial manner.
Growers conduct soil tests in North Carolina to provide beneficial applications of micro and macronutrients for maximizing the crops output. Nitrogen is one of those very important nutrients that really can’t be tested for. Using research based information collected over time helps with determining the needed nitrogen applications based on crop specifics.
Several variables play a role in the nitrogen benefit to crops. Misuse of nitrogen can lead to yield reductions and overtime, negative environmental impacts. Nitrogen is one of those nutrients that does best when applied at the right time.
Nitrogen applications need to be made when crops are growing and can take it up and maximize growth response. For example, if planting wheat later than the recommendation, it might not be a good idea to make a pre plant nitrogen application – because, temperatures maybe too cold to promote growth and tiller form within the plants; thus allowing the nitrogen to leach out of the soil without benefiting the crop.
Instead, consider waiting and make nitrogen applications when the temperatures are higher for several days; therefore, benefiting the crop. Split applications can be made on the as needed basis in the fall and winter months. It is best to make applications when temperatures are warm enough to promote growth versus when temperatures are much cooler and crops are at a standstill.
For more information on nitrogen management in small grains, visit http://www.smallgrains.ncsu.edu/_Pubs/PG/Nitrogen.pdf
Please contact Della King, Agriculture Extension Agent, Field Crops for any questions you may have. Email: [email protected] or Office: 910-592-7161.
Della King is an agriculture extension agent specializing in field crops with the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Center.