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Wheat topdressing early indicator

Just posted article (full story) about the ins and outs of topdressing wheat now on drought-stressed wheat. Experts give some good advice to growers facing that decision. 

 

The story points out, too, that  wheat farmers' fertility plans this spring will affect fertilizer in the rest of the Midwest.

 
Topdressing of winter wheat in the plains, usually urea, is the first big movement of fertilizer and is seen as the real beginning of the spring season.  One fertilizer manager says that if the weather and moisture situation is good, and the wheat's in decent shape, we’ll see a good topdress season.
 
But if crop conditions remain poor and growers refrain from topdressing, fertilizer supplies – particularly urea – will likely back up into the supply chain and potentially bring lower prices across the Midwest. 
 
Thoughts? 
 
John 
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4 Replies
Shaggy98
Senior Advisor

Re: Wheat topdressing early indicator

Excellent story John. Including these last two winter storms, I have received right at 5" moisture since drilling winter wheat last September. In most years that would be adequate, but being in the heart of the drought, it is only enough to keep us going until spring. I was fortunate enough to get my topdressing completed about 4 days before the first snow flake flew. Some call it dumb luck, I call it precise planning. My agronomist gave me topdressing recommendations about 1 week before the storms hit and I acted quickly. Meteorologists were talking about the first winter blast about a week before it hit, so it shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone. My wheat wasn't completely out of dormancy, so I applied a multitude of products tank mixed. Some immediate release and some that should aid the crop later in the spring months. I also tried a foliar absorbed product on a few acres to see if it will be of any additional benefit. With these snows and a few timely spring showers, I believe we can salvage a few acres of winter wheat. Not a bumper crop by any stretch of the imagination, but possibly some decent yields.
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Re: Wheat topdressing early indicator

I can't believe (according to your article) that guys still use UAN as carrier for herbicide in wheat. STOP the madness now, you are losing way too much yield.

 

We can get about 2-2.5 bu/ac more yield with UAN in streamer bars in the spring, over ESN, fall apllied fertilizer, and double spread dry fertilizer. Distribution is consistently a problem with dry spreaders, and air flow units need to be well maintained if you think that your going to use an airflow unit. Airflow is not common where I am, and urea easily plugs up airflow systems.

 

UAN is superior to every source of N when it comes to wheat. All comparisons of ESN, urea, AN, Super U, Agrotain, and everyting consistenly show no difference between all sources except UAN. IF your supplier says otherwise, get them to prove it, cause I can't find the data to support that.

 

While I hate the idea of guys applying N in the winter, the fact that most guys like Shaggy may not get plenty of chances to apply N in this spring. But for you guys that will get rain, and lots of it, stop the madness! Your going to lose N just as you would in fall apllied N, and the result is N/yield/money loss! We can go almost all the way up to GS32 (second node) w/o yield loss due to no N application. IT looks very yellow when your at that point, but the significant research says we will not lose yeild.

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Shaggy98
Senior Advisor

Re: Wheat topdressing early indicator

I agree with most of your post with the exception of N loss over the winter. That statement is location & soil dependent. I had a couple of fields that only used 20 units of N between now and last September.
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hymark
Frequent Contributor

Re: Wheat topdressing early indicator

Hi John,

 

I got 150 lbs of urea on mine January 26 but it has been slow to green up.  It's been cold here at night.

 

I hope to get some calcium nitrate on it when it gets warmer.

 

I have not kept up with the supply demand situation in fertilizer but at the Ohio River, prices have not went through the roof like they have other years.

 

Ed WinkleOct 07 057.jpg

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