Friday, January 17, 2014
At 17ºF, it really is cold enough today. CPS guys are applying the nitrogen top-dress to the wheat today. With two air-flow rigs going, they think they will get our wheat all done today. The nitrogen they are applying is a 50/50 blend of granular urea and ESN. The machines will apply 175 pounds per acre, which at 46%, this will add 80.5 pounds of actual N. Urea is an organic form of nitrogen, but in that form, it cannot be used by the wheat crop. However, once dissolved, the urea converts to an ammonium and subsequently to a nitrate form, both of which can be taken up by the wheat crop. The ESN in today’s granular blend of fertilization is merely an ‘encapsulated’ form of urea, making for a slower, controlled-release of the N, and spreading out its effectiveness as source of nitrogen plant food.
Yes, there’s a little snow on the ground today, but it’s less than an inch. If there had been 3-4 or more inches, we would probably not have continued the application of N today. But with this little amount of snow, it’s not a problem.
You can hear from people how tired they are of the cold and the snow. In this case, the cold today is a benefit to us and our wheat crop. It benefits wheat two ways: 1. It brings ‘vernalization’ and 2. It physically permits the travel of the fertilizer rigs over the field. This will be our only application of nitrogen before the June harvest. There will be a herbicide application made in early April, and then at ‘boot stage’, an application of fungicide will be made.