Time for Topdressing of Wheat in Northeast North Carolina

— Written By

Based on observations from the tiller survey the Northeast Ag Expo agents and Extension specialists conducted, it is felt that much of our wheat will start jointing between March 15th and 20th. Time of jointing can vary depending on planting date, the relative maturity of the wheat as well as other factors. Some of the very earliest wheat may already be jointing. By jointing, I mean that the growing point is starting to emerge from its position below ground and behind the growing point is a hollow steam that can be seen if the tiller is split open lengthwise. If it is jointing, we need to go ahead an apply topdress nitrogen. Research has shown that applying most of the nitrogen to wheat just prior to jointing helps to insure the highest yields. One other point about topdressing is nitrogen rate. When deciding how much to apply, I would not include what you applied at planting as being part of your total nitrogen. If  you made a split application of nitrogen, then I would include that as part of your total nitrogen rate. Unless you have poor plant populations, I would go with at least a total of 120 pounds nitrogen. If you have questions, please contact Al Wood (252-338-3954) or your local Extension agent.

group of extension agents and specialists

2018 northeast NC tiller survey conducted by the following in this picture: Dr. Angela Post (front and Center), Extension Small Grains Specialist, NC State University; starting on the far left in the back is Jody Carpenter, Extension Agent, Currituck Co., Jeff Williams, Perquimans farmer; Austin Brown, Extension Agent, Camden Co.; Thomas Roach, Perquimans Co. farmer; Dr. Carl Crozier, Extension Soils Specialist, NC State Univeristy, Dylan Lilley, Extension Agent, Perquimans Co.; and on the far right is Al Wood, Extension Agent, Pasquotank Co.

wheat field in February

Wheat field in northeast Noth Carolina in early February