Wheat School: When does your crop need spring nitrogen?

Episodes:

It’s late March and it’s cool in Ontario. Are you thinking about applying nitrogen to your winter wheat crop?

If so, don’t mention it to RealAgriculture resident agronomist Peter Johnson – he may have a conniption. After he stops shaking, WheatPete will tell you that there is no benefit to putting nitrogen on wheat until it greens up.

In this episode of RealAgriculture’s Wheat School, Johnson says applying nitrogen in these conditions is all bad. “They’re even forecasting snow for Easter weekend, for crying out loud!” His definition of greening up is when the crop actually starts to grow. “That’s when you drive past it and it looks green again after all the dead leaves disappear.”

The only exception Johnson will make is for growers in Ontario’s Bruce and Niagara peninsulas who planted “ultra late” last fall. In these areas, wet conditions delayed planting and some wheat has no tillers and only one to three leaves. “In that situation a little bit of nitrogen – 50 pounds, tops – can stimulate early season growth. But other than that, it’s all bad.”

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