Agronomy advice
10 April, 2024

Spring 2024 Nutrition Management

By: Natalie Wood

There’s no getting away from the wet conditions many have faced this autumn and winter. We can now try and manage some of the issues this has caused via a robust spring nutrition strategy with the following steps

Agronomist in a field using a N-Tester
Agronomist in a field using a N-Tester

1. If you’ve not applied first N yet – use a compound NPKS product

Due to anaerobic conditions, caused by waterlogging, there is the potential for poor root systems in winter crops. To improve these compromised roots apply fresh P and K at the first application to increase rooting capacity. Using a product such as YaraMila 52S (20.6-8.2-11.6 + 6.5%SO3) will supply plant-available P&K to help recover those backwards crops. N rates should be around 80kgN/ha in winter cereals at the first application timing (due to potentially lower N levels from excess rainfall) giving you 32kg/ha P2O5 and 45kg/ha K2O if using YaraMila 52S.

2. Foliar Phosphate to improve rooting and boost crop energy

If you’ve already applied your first application as N or NS then the other option is to apply a foliar P product such as YaraVita CropBoost. The foliar P is very efficient at getting into the crop and acts as an energy boost – stimulating root growth and energy transfer. However, applications should be on ASAP (by T0) to get the most out of the product.

3. Apply sulphur little and often to increase nitrogen use efficiency (NUE)

Sulphur leaches very readily in the soil, similar to nitrogen. Sulphur and nitrogen interact very closely and you can increase NUE by applying sulphur with each nitrogen application. Sulphur is required for uptake and utilisation of N, therefore an application with each N timing is the ideal way to ensure this efficiency. YaraBela Axan (27% N + 9% SO3) is the ideal product to increase NUE.

4.Use crop-specific foliar nutrients to stop potential deficiencies

Once crops have started their period of rapid growth (stem extension) they require key nutrients to sustain that level of biomass building. Using a crop-specific foliar nutrient mix enables you to save time, as everything is in one can, and increase overall nutrient use efficiency. Products such as YaraVita Brassitrel Pro for oilseed and YaraVita Gramitrel for cereals provide all the key micronutrients required for a healthy crop.

5.Use Atfarm and N-Tester to further increase NUE

In order to increase NUE further we can use tools that tell us how much N is in the crop and therefore how much to apply at the 2nd and 3rd N timings. Due to wet and warm winter conditions it might not be clear how much mineralisation has occurred and how much N might have been lost through rainfall. Using Atfarm and N-Tester can remove this guesswork and give a definitive value of how much N your crop requires. Sign up for free at Atfarm.

6.Environmentally friendly, simple solutions

Yara fertilisers are produced using abatement technology that reduces N2O emissions in the manufacturing process, giving Yara products some of the lowest carbon footprints. If we take YaraBela Extran (33.5%) as an example it has a max. Carbon footprint of 1.03 tCO2 e/t Product – if we compare this to the EU average it would be 1.12 tCO2 e/t Product and unabated products would be 2.3+ tCO2e/t Product. That’s an 8% reduction from average EU values and 55% reduction from unabated fertilisers. 

(ref: The Carbon Footprint of Fertiliser Production, IFS 2019)