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Supplemental Nitrogen for Small Grains (5/18/17)

Growth stage of spring wheat/durum varies from near jointing in the far south in North Dakota to barely emerged in other areas.

Supplemental Nitrogen for Small Grains

Growth stage of spring wheat/durum varies from near jointing in the far south in North Dakota to barely emerged in other areas. Some growers choose to split N applications similar to what is commonly done in Europe. To contribute to increased yield if N is limiting, supplemental N should be applied before early jointing. Nitrogen applied after this stage contributes to yield with decreasing efficiency, but may contribute to greater protein concentration. To promote beneficial wheat tillering, application during the 3-4 leaf stage if not sooner would be ideal. When small grains are emerged, application should be stream-bar applied UAN or urea solution, containing sulfate/thiosulfate sulfur if needed, or urea treated with the proper concentration of NBPT urease inhibitor as presented in earlier Crop and Pest Reports. For greatest protein enhancement, application of broadcast N immediately post-anthesis (after flowering) should be used. This application will be explored in much more depth in a future report.

For barley, except for barley destined as feed grain, supplemental N is not advised, as protein content of grain may increase to the point of rejection as malting grade. Only when no N has been applied, or precipitation has been high enough that major N losses have been realized should supplemental N for malting barley be considered.

Dave Franzen

NDSU Extension Soil Specialist

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