Hold Final Nitrogen Application Back if Possible on Winter Wheat

Good prices have put more acres into winter wheat in the Carolinas than ever before, with this year’s estimated planted acres is in the million range in North and South Carolina combined. Last year saw a near perfect growing season, but this year’s warm winter has created some challenges. Dennis McCoy, Area Agronomist, Pioneer Hi-bred International:

“The main topic, really, that folks are talking about right now is top-dressing their wheat….putting that last application on, or that final application on right now. And with the maturity of the wheat well ahead of schedule this year due to the warm temperatures farmers really need to hold off as long as possible in putting that top dressing on. But, whenever the wheat starts to joint and when the head starts to move up the stem is when the wheat will start using most of it’s nitrogen through it’s growth stage. It will be using most of the nitrogen that’s applied within the next 30 to 45 days.”

McCoy explains that while the crop is ready for a second nitrogen application, the region is still far from being out of the woods when it comes to the possibility of a heavy frost. McCoy says if possible, hold on to that nitrogen application:

“And that’s why delaying as long as possible this top-dressed nitrogen will help hold that wheat crop back just a little bit to help possibly avoid that winter freeze that we might still get.”

It’s the time of the year when those with winter wheat are making decisions on whether to double crop or not, and if so, what with. McCoy explains that grain sorghum is looking to be a big winner this year:

“There is a lot of discussion about grain sorghum, and grains sorghum acres are going to increase dramatically this year primarily because there’s a good market for it and then also because it’s also a good drought-tolerant crop.”

Agronomist with Pioneer Hi-bred International, Dennis McCoy.

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