6 Nutrient Tips To Maximize Wheat Production

A relatively early harvest throughout most of Illinois should allow enough time to get wheat planted and well established before it gets cold, said Fabian Fernandez, University of Illinois Extension specialist in soil fertility and plant nutrition. To ensure adequate nutrient availability and successful establishment, he offers the following suggestions:

1. Don’t apply too much N in the fall. Nitrogen is important for vegetative growth, but the amount taken up by roots and vegetative tissues does not exceed 30 to 40 pounds of nitrogen per acre before it gets too cold. While concern about lodging under high nitrogen rates has decreased considerably, it is best not to apply too much nitrogen in the fall to minimize lodging risks, Fernandez said.

Also, because nitrogen applications will promote excessive vegetative growth, the crop may be prone to disease problems later, he added. If the soil has large potential to supply nitrogen, fall applications prior to planting may not be necessary.

“Corn fields should have some leftover nitrogen in the soil this year as the corn crop probably did not use all the nitrogen during dry conditions in July and August,” Fernandez said. “Normally, a 20 to 30 pound nitrogen per acre application in the fall is all that is needed to establish wheat. This amount can be supplied in the form of di-ammonium phosphate, which should also supply what is needed for phosphorus fertility.”

2. Total N required depends on soil capacity. The total amount of nitrogen required for a wheat crop is dependent on the capacity of the soil to supply nitrogen. Dark soils high in organic matter require less nitrogen than light-colored soils with low organic matter. For soils with organic matter greater than 4 percent, 70 to 90 pounds of nitrogen per acre is typically sufficient; soils with organic matter between 2 and 4 percent often maximize yields with a rate of 100 to 120 pounds of nitrogen per acre; and soils with low or less than 2 percent organic matter will require 150 pounds of nitrogen per acre.

“While the full amount can be applied with anhydrous ammonia and a nitrification inhibitor in the fall, the preferred method is to apply most of the needed nitrogen by topdressing with fertilizers that do not contain free ammonia in the spring right before the crop greens up and starts to take nitrogen,” he said. “Applying nitrogen at this later time minimizes the potential for nitrogen loss, and provides needed nitrogen that might not be available from the soil due to slow mineralization during cool springs.”

3. Organic matter levels in soil impact application timing. In high organic matter soils, spring application timing is not as critical. In low organic matter soils in southern Illinois it is possible to reduce nitrogen rates by 10% by delaying application to late tillering (Feekes growth stage 5 to 6), splitting the application between early green-up and late tillering to early jointing, or using a nitrification inhibitor or slow-release nitrogen source.

4. Additional N considerations for wheat after corn. While most wheat is planted after soybeans, if wheat is planted after corn, one potential concern is the temporary tie-up of nitrogen that can occur as microorganisms break down corn stover. Fortunately, most of this tie-up takes place in the spring once soils warm up, which is often after wheat has taken up most of its nitrogen. For these reasons, additional nitrogen beyond the recommendation is not needed for wheat grown after corn.

5. Use soil test levels to determine P amount. Phosphorus is very important to stimulate early growth, help with tillering, and improve winter survival. The amount of phosphorus to be applied depends on the soil test levels as well as the phosphorus-supplying power of the soil. It is recommended that the soil test level be at 40, 45, and 50 pounds per acre for the high-, medium-, and low-phosphorus-supplying power soils, respectively.

If the soil test is below the desired level, it is recommended to apply sufficient phosphorus to build up the soil as well as supplying what the crop will remove. If test levels are adequate, it is recommended that sufficient phosphorus be applied at planting time to replace 1.5 times the amount to be removed by the crop. This large amount is needed to meet the high phosphorus requirements of wheat.

“In many fields, a typical rate of 150 pounds of DAP (18-46-0) per acre supplies not only phosphorus, but also sufficient nitrogen for the establishment of the crop,” Fernandez said. “Sometimes it might be tempting to reduce or eliminate phosphorus application in soils testing at or just above the critical level. If your finances do not allow for a full application, it is strongly suggested that 80 to 100 pounds of DAP per acre be applied to ensure a good supply of readily available phosphorus to help adequate establishment of the crop.”

6. Wheat less responsive to K than other crops. Potassium is also an important nutrient, but wheat normally does not respond to applications of this nutrient unless soil test levels are extremely low (less than 100 pounds per acre). Since soybean and corn are grown in the rotation with wheat, and are more responsive to potassium than wheat, it is recommended to manage this nutrient to maximize yield of corn and soybean, Fernandez said. This will automatically take care of the potassium needs of wheat.

(Source: University of Illinois Extension)

Leave a Reply

Fertilizer Stories

Illinois Researchers
FertilizerMeasure Of Age In Soil Nitrogen Could Help Precision Agriculture
July 26, 2016
What’s good for crops is not always good for the environment. Nitrogen, a key nutrient for plants, can cause problems Read More
Corn Field
FertilizerPhosphorus: Complex, Inefficient, Essential
July 12, 2016
Submitted by Verdesian Life Sciences Managing phosphorous for optimum plant uptake and increased yield potential is no easy task. “Because of Read More
Hypoxic zone Gulf of Mexico
Fertilizer“Grand Challenge”: $1 Million Prize Offered For Best In-Field Solution To Hypoxia
July 11, 2016
Hypoxic “dead zones” are a continuing problem in areas ranging from Lake Erie to the Gulf of Mexico and beyond, but Read More
Crop InputsExperts Predict 2016 Lake Erie Harmful Algal Bloom ‘Less Severe’ (w/Gallery)
July 8, 2016
As sun-drenched media members and various other dignitaries crowded around the back deck of the docked Bio-Lab – bobbing gently Read More
Trending Articles
Heritage Cooperative
Retail FacilitiesKahler Automation Designs State-Of-The-Art Facility For Heritage Cooperative
July 4, 2016
Heritage Cooperative in Marysville, OH, needed an efficient liquid, dry and grain facility to serve the many needs of their Read More
The Andersons Waterloo
ManagementFirst Indiana Facility Certified Under 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program
June 27, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that The Andersons, Inc.’s Waterloo, IN, facility has been added to its Read More
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To Explore IT Solutions
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Eric SfiligojWhat’s Next For Monsanto?
May 31, 2016
For the folks at Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, MO, it has been an eventful few weeks. Back on May Read More
Soybean Plant closeup
Industry NewsMonsanto Rejects Bayer Bid; Open To More Talks
May 25, 2016
Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, turned down Bayer AG’s $62 billion acquisition bid as “incomplete and financially inadequate” Read More
Eric SfiligojPity The Monsanto Haters
May 23, 2016
An old saying goes thus: “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.” Given current events, there Read More
Latest News
Illinois Researchers
FertilizerMeasure Of Age In Soil Nitrogen Could Help Precision Ag…
July 26, 2016
What’s good for crops is not always good for the environment. Nitrogen, a key nutrient for plants, can cause problems Read More
Kochia
Crop InputsNufarm Launches New Herbicide for Resistant Kochia
July 25, 2016
Nufarm introduces Scorch herbicide for U.S. farmers and ranchers combating a broad range of troublesome broadleaf weeds. A unique premix Read More
ManagementNew Rabobank Report Calls for Farmer ROI Focus
July 25, 2016
As U.S. row crop farmers brace themselves for a third year of negative margins, Rabobank believes farmers must lower the Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsBloomberg: Syngenta-Chem China Deal on Track for Regula…
July 25, 2016
Syngenta AG, which has agreed to be taken over by China National Chemical Corp. for $43 billion, said talks with Read More
ManagementGROWMARK Meeting Visit, Company Takeover Updates, and R…
July 22, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss their recent speaking engagement at GROWMARK’s eastern event, crop protection company merger rumors, Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto: EU Approves Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Imports
July 22, 2016
Monsanto Co. announced today that the European Commission has granted import approval for Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans. This milestone Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop InputsSyngenta Announces Alfalfa Seed Split Off
July 22, 2016
On September 1, 2016, Syngenta will transfer sales and distribution of alfalfa seed to the NEXGROW branded business that is Read More
Dow DuPont
Crop InputsDuPont, Dow Shareholders Approve Merger
July 21, 2016
DuPont and The Dow Chemical Company announced that, at their respective special meetings of stockholders held today, stockholders of both Read More
ManagementLand O’Lakes Announces SUSTAIN Business Unit, Oth…
July 20, 2016
Land O’Lakes, Inc. today announced the formal organization of a new business unit, SUSTAIN, and its leadership. SUSTAIN will focus Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Crop InputsReport: Bayer Shareholder Proposes Monsanto ‘Host…
July 20, 2016
One of Bayer AG’s top 20 shareholders said Wednesday it may make sense for the life-science company to launch an Read More
Young Corn Closeup
Industry NewsNew Leaf Symbiotics Snags Former Monsanto Microbials Le…
July 20, 2016
NewLeaf Symbiotics, announced today the appointment of Dr. Janne Kerovuo as Vice President for Research and Discovery.  Dr. Kerovuo comes Read More
Corn and ditch
ManagementStudy: Saturated Buffers Reduce Nitrates From Subsurfac…
July 19, 2016
The Agricultural Drainage Management Coalition (ADMC), Agricultural Drainage Management Systems Task Force and Dr. Dan Jaynes with the National Laboratory Read More
Case sprayer nozzle closeup
EquipmentAgronomists, CCAs, Custom Applicators Invited To FSR Ag…
July 19, 2016
Agronomists, Certified Crop Advisers (CCA) and custom applicators can stay current on agronomy issues on the grounds of the Farm Read More
Soybean Field
LegislationOhio Soybean Association Names Brian Hill Legislator Of…
July 19, 2016
The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) has announced that State Representative Brian Hill (R-Zanesville) has been named one of two Legislators of Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Latest Monsanto Rumors: A Game Of Tones
July 18, 2016
When companies are engaged in the back-and-forth of the acquisition game, the tone of their various announcements is always important. Read More
Nozzle spray close-up
AdjuvantsWest Central Distribution Introduces New Elite Family O…
July 14, 2016
West Central Distribution recently released a new line of Elite adjuvants to work alongside the new herbicide technologies that combat Read More
Bayer sign
Crop InputsBayer Makes New Offer For Monsanto
July 14, 2016
Bayer AG boosted its takeover offer for Monsanto Co. to about $65 billion in a bid to overcome the U.S. Read More
ManagementAn Update on Water
July 14, 2016
CropLife Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Matthew Grassi discuss agricultural water issues in conjunction with a recent field trip in Ohio. Read More