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

Darin Lickfeldt Verdesian In Field
Crop InputsVerdesian: Sustainability Goes Hand in Hand with Profits
July 25, 2017
Sustainability is a hot topic in agriculture these days. And while measuring sustainability and its on-farm impact can seem difficult Read More
Soil soybean closeup
FertilizerThe 4Rs and Potassium
July 17, 2017
Are we meeting crop K needs? Using the 4R nutrient stewardship approach of selecting the right source at the right Read More
Soybean Field Sunset
Crop InputsWhich is Better for Soybeans: Fall or Spring Applications?
July 17, 2017
There have been many questions about fall versus spring applications of phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) to soybeans, writes Dr. T. Read More
corn-potassium-deficiency-University-of-Minnesota-Extension
Crop InputsRecognizing Potassium Deficiency Symptoms in Crops
July 17, 2017
Some crops exhibit characteristic deficiency symptoms when adequate amounts of K are not available for growth and development, according to Read More
Trending Articles
Tim Hassinger Dow AgroSciences President and CEO
Crop InputsDow’s Tim Hassinger Named President, CEO of Lindsay Corp.
July 24, 2017
Lindsay Corp. has  announced the appointment of Timothy Hassinger as president and CEO and a member of its board of Read More
Stewardship‘Gonna Fly Now’ with Environmental Respect
July 20, 2017
One of the most memorable moments in movie history occurred in the Academy Award-winning 1976 film “Rocky.” Haven gotten his Read More
StewardshipEnvironmental Respect 2017 Kicks Off Enjoying an American Pastime
July 18, 2017
Following months of planning and scheduling, the 2017 Environmental Respect Awards (ERA) celebration kicked off in fine fashion as more Read More
Soybean Closeup
Crop InputsMissouri Lifts Dicamba Ban, Issues Stricter Application Parameters
July 14, 2017
The Missouri Department of Agriculture has lifted its barely week-old ban on new dicamba technologies, which have been at the Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto Responds to Arkansas, Missouri Dicamba Bans
July 10, 2017
Monsanto, provider of the dicamba-tolerant Roundup Ready Xtend crop system for soybeans and cotton, issued the following statement on Friday, Read More
Retail FacilitiesPCS-Hammond Meets Fertilizer Storage Needs with New Dome Facility
July 8, 2017
The new barrel dome facility at the PCS-Hammond Regional Distribution Center in Hammond, IN, can hold more than 100,000 tons Read More
Latest News
1255-Early-Riser-Planter-with-Precision-Planting
EquipmentAGCO to Acquire Precision Planting
July 26, 2017
AGCO and The Climate Corp. announced today that a definitive agreement has been signed for AGCO to acquire the Precision Read More
CPS-Norwood-and-Dupont-reps
Eric SfiligojA Message to Ag Retailers: Do Tell Your Good Stories
July 26, 2017
As the daughter of a peanut farmer, Krysta Harden, Chief Sustainability Officer for DuPont Crop Protection, understands the importance ag Read More
Iowa-State-Seed-Science-Center
Seed/BiotechIowa State Celebrates 10 Years of Online Seed Education
July 26, 2017
This year, Iowa State University is celebrating 10 years of service to the seed industry through its online Graduate Program Read More
Corn seed treatment
Seed/Biotech5 Steps for Stewardship of Treated Seed
July 26, 2017
With planting season just around the corner, the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) reminds farmers to follow five basic steps Read More
Darin Lickfeldt Verdesian In Field
Crop InputsVerdesian: Sustainability Goes Hand in Hand with Profit…
July 25, 2017
Sustainability is a hot topic in agriculture these days. And while measuring sustainability and its on-farm impact can seem difficult Read More
Crop InputsBASF: In Arkansas Drift Cases, Buffer Zones Mostly Not …
July 24, 2017
BASF on Thursday addressed questions about spreading dicamba drift issues on a media briefing call. In Arkansas – which is Read More
Tim Hassinger Dow AgroSciences President and CEO
Crop InputsDow’s Tim Hassinger Named President, CEO of Linds…
July 24, 2017
Lindsay Corp. has  announced the appointment of Timothy Hassinger as president and CEO and a member of its board of Read More
Eric SfiligojThe 2017 Ambassadors of Respect Come from Around the Gl…
July 24, 2017
After a week of fun, enjoying food, sights, and company information, DuPont Crop Protection representatives and their Environmental Respect guests Read More
ManagementCropLife Retail Week: Dicamba Update and InfoAg Preview
July 21, 2017
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf discuss reports from the field and comments from Monsanto about dicamba drift this season, Read More
Stewardship‘Gonna Fly Now’ with Environmental Respect
July 20, 2017
One of the most memorable moments in movie history occurred in the Academy Award-winning 1976 film “Rocky.” Haven gotten his Read More
StewardshipEnvironmental Respect: Grand Grounds, Posters Parade
July 19, 2017
To celebrate their accomplishments in the area of environmental stewardship, award recipients at the 2017 Environmental Respect week spent much Read More
StewardshipHarden’s Message to ERA Winners: Do Tell Your Good Stor…
July 19, 2017
As the daughter of a peanut farmer, Krysta Harden, Chief Sustainability Officer for DuPont Crop Protection, understands the importance the Read More
StewardshipFarming Smarter Hinges on 4R Best Management Practices
July 18, 2017
Preserving water quality while feeding another 2 billion people by 2050 is the challenge facing North America’s farmers and its Read More
StewardshipEnvironmental Respect 2017 Kicks Off Enjoying an Americ…
July 18, 2017
Following months of planning and scheduling, the 2017 Environmental Respect Awards (ERA) celebration kicked off in fine fashion as more Read More
Soybean Field Sunset
OpinionPicking Partners in the Crop Protection Market
July 17, 2017
Agriculture is a market awash in highs, lows, and everything in between. This is certainly true in the world of Read More
TMX-2050-In-Cab-Display-Launch-Run-Screen
EquipmentGPS Auto Steer: Innovating in a Mature Market
July 17, 2017
In the world of Big IRON, GPS auto steer has closely mirrored the evolutionary path of consumer GPS Navigation systems Read More
MFA-Centralia-MO
Eric SfiligojThe Resilience of Ag Retailers
July 17, 2017
After covering the ag retail market for 17 years, I think one of the most impressive character traits I’ve seen Read More
SERA-meeting
Stewardship4R Event Explores How to Minimize Phosphorus Losses
July 17, 2017
This year the Southern Extension and Research Activity (SERA) – 17; will be meeting in Oregon, OH, from August 14-17. Read More