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Applying nitrogen and sulphur together just makes sense

Combining nitrogen and sulphur together increases nitrogen use efficiency so means more for your money with less wastage

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Well-timed Nitrogen to Hit Protein Spec

In a season with excessive rainfall, ensuring optimal nitrogen levels becomes paramount for meeting premium milling wheat standards. The challenge lies in replenishing depleted soil nitrogen levels with a well-timed application.

When I look back at Yara trial data from 2020, following a wet autumn and winter, it highlights higher nitrogen rates are needed to reach those protein targets. This emphasises the importance of timing, rate and source of nitrogen application.

In order to hit the protein target millers are looking for it requires a separate application of nitrogen after the flag leaf final-dressing. This application needs to be separate to ensure the nitrogen goes towards building up the protein level within the developing grain, rather than utilising it for just yield. As well as timing, nitrogen source and rate are also important when trying to boost the protein, to ensure the nitrogen is utilised correctly in the plant.

Applying about 40-60kgN/ha (e.g. 120kg/ha of YaraBela EXTRAN) at growth stage 51 (which is the start of ear emergence) has been shown to increase grain protein levels by up to 1%. This is possible to achieve without then compromising on yield. Yara trials showed that the separate application later the in the season gave a boost in both yield and protein when applied at end of booting/start of ear emergence. For those on liquid systems, an application of foliar urea (such as Nufol 20) applied later, at milky-ripe stage, is the ideal timing for the same 40-60kgN/ha.

However, if the plant is deficient in certain micronutrients you’re less likely to have a positive impact on protein levels. Manganese and zinc, in particular, are important in the metabolism of nitrogen. If nitrogen metabolism is improved then this increases the amount of nitrogen that is incorporated into the developing protein in the grain. Trials work, again, has shown that an application of zinc at T2 timing can increase grain protein by up to 1.4%! Therefore it is important to ensure there’s no zinc deficiency if aiming for the milling premium - an application of YaraVita Mancozin or YaraVita Zintrac will help prevent this.

Due to excessive rainfall this season, soil N levels were potentially depleted when compared to a more typical year. With the premiums available on milling wheat this year you might be aiming for protein spec, if so the rate and timing of nitrogen is key.

 If I look back at Yara trial data from 2020 (following a wet autumn/winter), only the crops with higher N rates reached target proteins, due to the depletion of soil N. In order to hit the protein target millers are looking for it requires a separate application of nitrogen after the flag leaf final-dressing.

The application needs to be separate to ensure the nitrogen goes towards building up the protein level within the developing grain, rather than utilising it for just yield. As well as timing, nitrogen source and rate are also important when trying to boost the protein, to ensure the nitrogen is utilised correctly in the plant.

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