Time for Topdressing of Wheat in Northeast North Carolina
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.