Wheat School: Graeme Jones’ Spring Nitrogen Strategy for Big (Winter) Wheat

Ontario’s wheat crop saw incredible growth last fall, and spring fertilizer plans must be adjusted accordingly.

With advanced wheat, nitrogen application should be delayed, explains Graeme Jones, an agronomist from New Zealand who helped set a previous world record wheat yield.

Timing depends on nitrogen availability in the soil and crop size, he says, in this Wheat School episode filmed at the Southwest Agricultural Conference in Ridgetown, Ontario.

“The plants wouldn’t have 10 tillers if they hadn’t established a pretty big, grunty root system on them, as opposed to a crop with one or two tillers on them,” explains Jones. “That crop will be able to mop up any soil N and phosphate a lot more efficiently than what a small two-tillered plant would be.”

“There’s no use putting it all on early if that’s not when the crop actually needs it. You’re just giving it luxury consumption of nitrogen and you’re potentially going to leach it.”

While it’s normal in New Zealand to give wheat at least three shots of nitrogen, he says he might hold off on applying N to big wheat until growth stage 32.

Jones gets into how he would manage a large wheat crop in New Zealand, some of the differences between Canada and New Zealand and more in this episode:

Related Wheat School: Managing Ontario’s “Incredible” Wheat Crop