Wheat School: Boosting protein with dissolved urea

The price of wheat is down, yes, but there are premiums for protein, and RealAgriculture agronomist Peter Johnson thinks there’s an opportunity to cash in.

In this episode of the Wheat School, Johnson looks at new nitrogen research from University of Manitoba researcher Amy Mangin. It provides evidence of how growers can pump up their protein levels by applying 30 pounds of N as dissolved urea after anthesis.

When it comes to wheat protein levels, Johnson says there’s a simple rule that growers need to remember: “the later you put nitrogen on in the wheat crop, the more it goes to protein and the less it goes to yield.” Johnson also notes how using dissolved urea for late-season N application is standard practice in Europe because there’s much less burning of the crop. In the video, Johnson compares the higher burn levels produced when applying UAN diluted to a 14% solution compared to the burn-free leaves of plants sprayed with dissolved urea at a 9% solution.

“There was no injury whatsoever (with the dissolved urea) and statistically significant more protein,” adds Johnson. “Getting more than a 1% protein bump from 30 pounds of N on 100 bushel per acre wheat – that’s incredible.”

In the video, Johnson offers tips on how to make dissolved urea. These recommendations can also be found in this Dissolved Urea Fact Sheet.

Click here for more Wheat School episodes.

Related Wheat School: Don’t get burned with contaminant in urea


Bernard Tobin

Bernard Tobin is Real Agriculture's Ontario Field Editor. AgBern was raised on a dairy farm near St. John's, Newfoundland. For the past two decades, he has specialized in agricultural communications. A Ryerson University journalism grad, he kicked off his career with a seven-year stint as Managing Editor and Field Editor for Farm and Country magazine. He has received six Canadian Farm Writers' Federation awards for journalism excellence. He's also worked for two of Canada's leading agricultural communications firms, providing public relations, branding and strategic marketing. Bern also works for Guelph-based Synthesis Agri-Food Network and talks the Real Dirt on Farming.


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