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Fertiliser Strategies for Winter Crops

The middle of February is the perfect time discuss fertiliser strategies for winter crops and in conjunction with recent soil test results make a planned approach to fertiliser spreading.

From my observations, crops look good coming out of this winter but some are starting to come under pressure. Yellowing is appearing in many crops as it has been a relatively mild winter with growth throughout, coupled with a lot of rainfall. This will make it important to apply some straight nitrogen + sulphur (10-15kg/ha sulphur) or compounds like 10-10-20 before the end of February. A recommended fertiliser strategy for winter crops is prioritising crops like winter barley especially early sown crops.

Winter Barley and Winter Wheat

The first crops of winter barley to be fertilised should be hybrid winter barley. It should receive up to 30% of its total nitrogen in the first split before the end of February; 50% at growth stage (GS) 30-31 and 20% between GS 32-37. General advice is that the two-rows should receive 40-50 kg/ha by early March at the latest, and receive the balance around GS 30-31. Some will hold back 30-40 kg/ha to apply between GS 32-37 on two-rows also.

Winter wheat depending on sowing date or its slot within the rotation should receive 20-25% of its total nitrogen by the end of February / early March with the earlier application (late February) going out on second wheats or backward crops.

Winter Oilseed Rape

Another of our fertiliser strategies for winter crops looks at winter rape. Winter rape is also looking well but some of the later sown crops have taken a battering from pigeons and will require up to 60-70 kg/ha of nitrogen to stimulate growth, along with sulphur as soon as weather and ground conditions permit.

In relation to the stronger crops, with GAI’s (Green Area Index) of one or higher, an application of 45-50 kg/ha plus sulphur should be made by the first few days in March. Any backward crops require a higher total nitrogen application than the more advanced crops. Crops with a GAI of around one should receive around 210-220 kg/ha of N (175 units/acre) in three splits of 50/90-100/70 kg/ha as a guide about three weeks apart, with the last split going on around yellow bud stage.

Winter Oats

Winter oats is looking quite forward and growers should hold off with nitrogen on these crops until March, unless the crop is very thin or backward.

If you have a question or need any advice on harvesting in 2016 why not ask myself or any of our tillage crop and agri experts and we will be happy to help.

Six row Hybrid Winter Barley (600 plants per m2)

Six Row Hybrid Winter Barley – 600 plants per m2

Cassia Two Row Winter Barley (1200 plants per m2)

Cassia Two Row Winter Barley – 1200 plants per m2

Winter OSR GAI of 1.25 with plant stand of about 26 to 28 per m2

Winter Oil Seed Rape GAI of 1.25 with plant stand of about 26 to 28 per m2

Winter Wheat sown in late September

Winter Wheat sown in late September

  • Tags:
  • Agri
  • fertilser strategies
  • nitrogen
  • sulphur
  • winter barley
  • Winter Wheat