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Late Season N in Wheat - The Cliff Notes Edition

Based on the number of phone calls I received in just the last few days there is a considerable amount of interest in late season application of nitrogen with the goal to improve the grain protein content of spring and winter wheat. This interest isn't surprising given the extremely low grain protein concentrations of last year's crop and the crippling discounts that followed. Foliar applications of N during the onset of kernel fill have shown to be able to increase grain protein. A review article and decision guide were published in 2006.

The key points of foliar applications of N on wheat to improve grain protein content follow:
  • Apply up to 10 gpa of 28-0-0 with an equal amount of water - the water is needed to reduce leaf burn; more water is advantageous
  • DO NOT apply during the heat of the day - early evening application reduce leaf burn considerably
  • DO NOT tankmix this N with any fungicides at Feekes 10.51, but rather apply the additional N 5 to 7 days after anthesis
  • The probability of a response by the crop is about 80%
  • Only expect an increase of 0.5 to 1.0 full point in grain protein with the additional 30 lbs N/A
  • All varieties respond equally well to the additional N
  • Use the decision guide in the above mentioned link to determine whether an economic return is possibly in relationship to the price of the 28-0-0

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