wheatPlanting season is under way and some growers have starting fertilizing wheat due to unseasonably warm temperatures causing wheat to green up and begin spring growth earlier than normal.  This is the time where it’s important to pay close attention to the growth stage of wheat before deciding what option to go with for fertilization whether it’s chemically with herbicides, like Dicamba for example, or naturally with livestock liquid manure.

Some farmers are turning to herbicides for their wheat.  One of the most common herbicides is Dicamba, which can be applied between the 2-leaf and jointing stages of wheat.  Farmers should be aware that if applied after the jointing stage of growth, it can cause severe prostrate growth to wheat and significant risk of yield loss.  On the plus side, Dicamba does provide a residual control of weeds following application.  Two other herbicides that farmers commonly choose from are MCPA and 2, 4-D.  MCPA is safer on wheat than 2, 4-D when applied prior to the tillering stage.  2, 4-D shouldn’t be applied until wheat is well-tillered in the spring.  If applied before then it could cause stunting.  2, 4-D is safest if applied between full-tiller and the jointing stages of growth.  Neither MCPA nor 2, 4-D should be applied once wheat reaches the boot stage of growth because it can result in malformed heads and cause yield loss. 

Liquid livestock manure is another great option for farmers.  According The Ohio State University,  it’s a great option as a spring top-dress fertilizer typically when it’s applied around the last week of March and the first week of April and has the right amount of nitrogen and the wheat fields are firm enough to support manure application equipment.  Application of manure to wheat by commercial dragline operators is quickly gaining acceptance.  It’s become more efficient to use dragline operators than manure application with a tanker because it reduces the risk of soil compaction.  The key to applying the right amount of manure is to know the nitrogen content.  Most manure tests reveal total nitrogen, ammonia nitrogen and organic nitrogen amounts.  Swine manure is better than dairy manure due to dairy manure having less ammonia nitrogen than swine manure causing less wheat yields.

Additional on-farm manure top-dress of wheat plot results can be obtained by clicking on the on-farm research link on the OSU Extension Agronomics Crops team website at http://agcrops.osu.edu/on-farm-research.

Now it’s up to the farmer to decide which option they want for their wheat during planting season.  Any above option seems feasible depending on whether they want to do it naturally using manure or chemically with herbicides. 

Read more on Row Crop.










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