Understanding weather, crops key

Last updated: November 25. 2013 9:44AM - 400 Views
Della King Contributing columnist

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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.

We conduct soil tests in North Carolina to provide beneficial applications of micro and macronutrients for maximizing our crops output. Nitrogen is one of those very important nutrients that really can’t be tested. 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. 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: della_king@ncsu.edu or Office: 910-592-7161

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