Seminole Crop E News

Agricultural News for Farmers and Agribusiness in SW Georgia

Wheat Sidedress?

Posted by romeethredge on January 26, 2015

 We don’t want to over-fertilize wheat with N in the fall when wheat is planted as it may cause excessive growth and result in winter injury.  We need most of it in late January and February as one or two sidedressings – depending on tillering. Total N will be between 100 and 130 lbs per acre. 


 When we plant wheat we don’t plant enough seed for each plant to just make one head. We want several heads from each plant. This time of year the plants are tillering or growing these multiple stems so that we’ll have more grain heads per plant in the field. Tillers — grain heads– kernels–  yield.


Last week I did some tiller counts and we are behind in many fields, so we need to split our sidedressing.  Often the wheat  rows are 7.5 inches wide so we measure 19 inches down the row to get a square foot and count total tillers in that area. Once we know the average number of tillers per square foot we can make some decisions about wheat sidedressing.  We want close to 100 tillers per square foot and if we are below that we generally go ahead with half our fertilizer sidedressing the last week in January and the rest the second week of February.



In this photo you can see there are 3 tillers on this plant.

If we have 100 or so tillers per square foot and good growth and don’t see much yellowing of the older foliage, we can wait until the 2nd week of February to put out all of our sidedress fertilizer.

 Timing of N fertilization should be based on the pattern of uptake by the crop. Demand for N is relatively low in the fall but increases rapidly in the spring just before stem elongation. Therefore, make the fall applications of nitrogen at planting, and the remaining N prior to stem elongation. Use a lower rate of fall applied nitrogen at planting on heavier-textured soils and the higher rate on sandy soils.

Other nutrients should be applied according to a soil test preplant.

Since 65% of the total P uptake and 90% of the total K uptake occurs before the boot stage, these nutrients should be applied according to soil test before planting and thoroughly incorporated into the rooting zone


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