We’ve received many calls today regarding nitrogen applications on wheat tomorrow. Even though it looks like a good opportunity with the ground frozen, it is too soon to be applying any nitrogen on the wheat yet. There are a few reasons for this:
Most of the wheat went in early in the fall and had significant top growth- early nitrogen promotes tillering and majority of the wheat does not need this
The wheat is just beginning to actively grow- even though some fields have a hint of green coming, we are targeting full green up for the first N application which will be approx 2-3 weeks yet.
Finally and most importantly, there is +2” rain in the forecast for many regions this weekend. From a nutrient stewardship standpoint, we want that nitrogen in the soil and accessible for the plant, not in the water in the ditch where it is wasted and harmful. No amount of Agrotain will keep nitrogen fertilizer from being carried in surface water off the fields.
There will be another window in April to get the N on, do not worry. If you do have some red clover to spread however, tomorrow is a great opportunity to do so!
On another note, we’ve also fielded a number of calls about winter survival with the recent ups and downs in the temperature. 90%+ of the wheat acres appear to be fine to date. There is some concern for knolls and ridges where cold temperatures reach deeper. But for the most part, it is too soon to judge winter survival. We need multiple days consistently over 7-10C to see what regrowth is happening. If you have some fields you are particularly concerned about, please let us know so we can target these fields early and make a proactive decision on them.