Farmers looking to kickstart their winter wheat crop are very careful in timing their nitrogen application. Applying nitrogen at the wrong stage in plant development can lead to yield loss down the line. That being said, farmers have to take into consideration the difference in conditions this year vs last year. Whereas last years conditions in Ontario proved ideal to plant development, this years cooler conditions have plants lagging behind. This is very important to consider, as we want to apply that nitrogen when it is most beneficial to the plant anytime before that second node stage. The danger comes from the idea that farmers may be missing out on the benefits of N application, thinking their wheat is further along than it actually is. Farmers in some areas of the prairies may miss out on that application window altogether not just because conditions are cooler, but because field conditions are wetter now than at this same time last year.
Peter Johnson is a Wheat Specialist with OMAFRA. Today on the Wheat School, we spoke to him about the importance of proper timing in N application and the importance of knowing where your crop is at.
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