Nitrogen loss suspected in wheat, says University of Kentucky

Wheat field operators who applied nitrogen to their frozen fields in January and February may experience a decrease in nitrogen according to the University of Kentucky Research and Education Center in Princeton. “Though the soil was frozen enough to support sprayers, significant precipitation fell after the application was made. The nitrogen likely was not able to penetrate the soil and could have been lost to surface runoff,” said Edwin Ritchey, extension soil specialist with the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. UK specialists suggest that growers who applied nitrogen back in January or February change their second application rates to make up for the lost nitrogen. “Although a substantial amount of the first nitrogen application might have been lost if applied to frozen ground, the yield potential has not been compromised,” specialist Carrie Knott said. “There is still time to adjust nitrogen rates with the second application so that wheat yields are not limited.” 

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