Readers ask: When To Topdress Wheat?

Best Practices for Topdressing Wheat with Nitrogen

With adequate soil moisture in most areas of the state and some relatively small wheat in many fields due to late planting and dry weather in early fall, now is a good time to start planning for nitrogen topdressing of the winter wheat crop. There are some key elements to consider.

Application Method

Most topdressing is applied in a dribble band on 15- to 18-inch centers, which can result in some N immobilization in high-residue situations, especially when liquid UAN is used. If no herbicides are applied with the N, producers can get some benefit from applying the N in a dribble band on 15- to 18-inch centers if no herbicides are applied with the N.


UAN solution and dry urea are the most common sources of nitrogen for topdressing wheat, with dry urea being less affected by immobilization than broadcast liquid UAN. New controlled-release products, such as polyurethane coated urea (ESN), may also be considered.


If the wheat was grazed this fall and winter, producers should add an additional 30-40 pounds N per acre for every 100 pounds of beef weight gain removed. In 2015, we conducted a demonstration project at eight locations throughout Kansas using a crop sensor-based N management system.

When should you top dress winter wheat?

To identify areas of high nitrate availability, samples can be taken in late winter or very early spring before the wheat greens up, but results may not be as accurate as when samples are taken in the fall. The most important factor for topdress applications is timing. Have enough N in the root zone prior to jointing.

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What do you top dress wheat with?

UAN solution and dry urea are the most common sources of nitrogen used for topdressing wheat, and numerous K-State trials have shown that both are equally effective.

How much nitrogen do you put in winter wheat?

Wheat requires 2 to 2.5 pounds of nitrogen (N) per bushel (bu) of grain, or 1 pound per acre if grazed, or each 3 pound-per-acre animal gain if grazed.

When should I fertilize winter wheat?

Winter wheat can be fertilized with the entire nitrogen amount in the fall, but studies in many winter wheat-growing areas show that when the bulk of the nitrogen is applied in the spring at green-up, yield response and nitrogen use efficiency are consistently better.

What are the growth stages of wheat?

Wheat growth can be divided into several stages: germination/emergence, tillering, stem elongation, boot, heading/flowering, and grain-fill/ripening. Several different systems have been developed to identify wheat growth stages; the Feekes scale and the Zadoks scale are the two most popular.

What is the best fertilizer for winter wheat?

Nitrogen fertilizers should be applied at rates based on expected crop yields minus credits for residual soil nitrates and nitrogen mineralized from organic matter, manure, and previous legume crops. Phosphate fertilizers should be applied at rates based on soil test results.

How do you fertilize wheat?

When applying starter fertilizer directly to wheat seed, Ruiz Diaz recommends following these guidelines: * Apply no more than 16 pounds of nitrogen-plus-potash in 15-inch spaced rows for medium to fine textured soils, or 11 pounds for sandy or dry soils.

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Which fertilizer is used for top-dressing?

1. Ammonium nitrate (33.5u201334.5% N) is a widely used top-dressing fertiliser because half of the nitrogen (as nitrate, NOsub>3/sub>sup>/sup>sup>/sup>) is readily available.

How much urea per acre is wheat?

When using the leaf color chart (LCC) for need-based nitrogen application to paddy, apply 30 kg urea per acre to medium soils at transplanting and 25 kg urea per acre at last puddling. Phosphorus application should be omitted where paddy follows wheat that has received the recommended dose of phosphorus.

Which is the best fertilizer for wheat?

The only potassic fertilizers currently available on the market are muriate of potash and potassium sulphate, both of which are equally good for wheat. In addition to the major nutrients (N, P, and K), good responses to micronutrients, particularly zinc, have been obtained in many areas.

How late can you apply nitrogen to wheat?

Single applications of nitrogen on wheat are often sufficient if applied a few weeks after green-up, which is usually mid- to late April in many seasons. N should not be applied on frozen ground because there is a risk of N loss due to excessive rains in early April, even if applied soon after the ice has thawed.

How much nitrogen is in spring wheat?

For crops drilled before March, apply nitrogen at early stem extension, but not before early April or after early May; for amounts greater than 70 kg/ha, apply 40 kg/ha of the total in the seedbed, except on light sand soils, where 40 kg/ha should be applied at the 3 leaf stage, but not before March.

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How many pounds of fertilizer do you need per acre for wheat?

Nitrogen fertilizer applications for crops like wheat, sorghum, and sunflowers should be at least 50 pounds of actual nitrogen per acre, with no need to apply more than 100 pounds nitrogen per acre in a single application.

What do you do with winter wheat in the spring?

Spring annual use. Although it’s not common, winter wheat can be planted in the spring as a weed-suppressing companion crop or early forage, but you’ll lose out on fall nutrient scavenging.

What are numbers in fertilizer?

The first number on all fertilizer labels is the amount of nitrogen (N), the second number is the amount of phosphate (Psub>2/sub>Osub>5/sub>), and the third number is the amount of potassium (Ksub>2/sub>O), which represent the three primary nutrients (nitrogen(N) – phosphorus(P) – potassium(K).

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