Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wheat Lodging, Excess N Likely the Problem

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky
Lodged wheat. Photo: Edwin Ritchey
Wheat in a lot of fields has lodged or fallen over. The most likely problem in these fields is excess nitrogen. The 2012 corn crop was disappointing. The dry conditions lowered corn yields and much less nitrogen was removed by the corn crop. The dry conditions last season also allowed the nitrogen to remain in the soil and be available for the wheat crop. The fertilizer N applied to these fields may even have been lower than normal as farmers tried to account for carryover N. However, based on the number of fields with lodged wheat, the carryover N was more than anyone expected.

Lodged wheat near the edge of the field.
Overlapping of fertilizer N at field edges is common. 
Photo: Edwin Ritchey
The only management that can be done in these fields is to slow down at harvest. While the wheat has fallen over, reports are that the wheat yields are still good in many fields. Harvesting is slower, but grain quality in western Kentucky is relatively good.


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