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18 Dec 2023

Spring Nutrition and Increasing Tillers

Yara UK Ltd Hall: 10 Stand number: 610
Spring Nutrition and Increasing Tillers

As we think of crops coming out of the winter, we need to give them the best start once they start to regrow, ensuring their growth doesn’t falter and lose momentum.

Due to the excessive autumn/winter rainfall there will be a question mark over the amount of nutrition that is in the soil, any nutrients that are mobile in the soil will potentially have leached. Waterlogged soils also means that soil pores (spaces in between the particles) are full of water, rather than air. This means that soils are anaerobic, so only bacteria that can survive without air can replicate. Mineralisation is when nutrients become plant-available from organic material in the soil. This process is slowed/halted when waterlogging causes anaerobic conditions, due to the bacteria not being able to be active.

Waterlogging can also cause plant’s roots to decrease in volume, particularly the secondary roots which have the most surface area and therefore can take up the most nutrition. Therefore, coming out of winter we need to help the crop build back its root system as quickly as possible so it can in turn build its biomass i.e. tillers in cereals.

Nutrition can help in a few ways, phosphate (P) and potassium (K) both help with root development and P availability in particular, is poor when soils are cold and wet. Applying some fresh P in the spring, when it’s not yet available from soils, will help recover the root system and enable other nutrients to be taken up more too. Using nitrogen at the right rate and timing will increase efficiency, meaning you get the most out of your application. There is work that shows early, higher rates of nitrogen are beneficial to the number of tillers/m2 in winter wheat crops. Rates of 70-100kgN/ha at the first application timing (once crops are growing) increased the number of tillers on average by 20% versus an application of only 40kgN/ha.

For that reason, if you want the fresh P&K with your first nitrogen application YaraMila 52S (20.6-8.2-11.6+6.5%SO3) is an ideal product for that first timing. If you require just nitrogen and sulphur, then there are a couple of options depending on your preferred nitrogen source. If you are a urea user then YaraVera Amidas contains both nitrogen and sulphur (40% N + 14% SO3), you will also be able to get an inhibited version (Amipro) which can be used anytime but an inhibited urea is mandatory on applications after 1st April 2024 when the rules change. If you are an ammonium nitrate user, then YaraBela Axan (27% N + 9% SO3) is the best product to use and has the lowest ammonia emissions compared to both urea and urea+ inhibitor.

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