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Nitrogen on winter wheat

Cereals are very responsive to nitrogen. However, over-application of nitrogen causes lodging resulting in reduce yield, quality, and harvestability. The optimum rate of nitrogen for a particular field will depend on the type of wheat grown, past applications of manure or fertilizer, soil type, and crop rotation. Use general recommendations as a starting point but combine them with observation of crop growth and lodging tendency. The idea is to ensure nitrogen is available early and consistently though the major uptake period (node development though booting).

Timing

Time single applications for late April. This avoids significant N loss from wet soil conditions that might occur earlier, while providing N when the crop demand goes up. Large single applications increase lodging potential.

Split application are preferred. The main benefits are reduced concerns over N loss, greater weed control due to increased crop vigor, more uniform heading, and less lodging. Yield benefits are secondary. Apply 50-80 lbs/ac N as early as possible (on frost any time after March 15-20), with the balance at 1st – 2nd node. Nodes can be easily seen or felt on the stem above ground level.

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