Wheat prices are currently going through the roof. The reasons for this are stock market speculation and last year’s poor harvest. Harvest volumes fell short of expectations. In France and the UK in particular. In Germany, the harvest turned out to be average, although some locations had to cope with adversity due to drought. What all the results have in common is a lack of protein levels. With an adapted and site-specific fertilisation, you have your results in your own hands, and can actively control the protein levels. We reveal the optimal approach to take.
After freezing temperatures and masses of snow in February, nature is slowly coming back to life – winter wheat is in the midst of tillering in many places. At this stage of development (growth stage 20-29), the plant forms side shoots. The initial fertilisation has been completed, and farm manure has also been applied if necessary. From around mid-April onwards, the plants start to bolt and stretch (growth stage 30-39) – the perfect time to plan a needs-based second application of mineral fertiliser.
Why site-specific fertilisation is so important.
Complementing your long-standing experience and expertise, the use of a sensor is a good idea at this stage. Because every area is individual, and with the aid of smart sensor technology you can supply your crops individually with nutrients and nitrogen. Why is that so important? Heterogeneity within an area often leads to under- and over-supply of individual parts of maps, which then for you often means reductions in yield and loss of quality. Site-specific fertilisation can be a tool for optimising the N balance. This depends primarily on the quantity the farmer inputs when calibrating. The N distribution is then optimised within parts of maps.
Find out what your plants need.
With a plant sensor, you are able to analyse your crops without causing harm, and collect data with every pass. Different systems are available depending on the size of farm. You can also couple the ISARIA PRO Compact and PRO Active plant sensors directly to your fertiliser spreader. This saves one pass, and is highly efficient. The sensors can detect the extent to which your plants still need support by means of the biomass and nitrogen supply index. If you have connected your fertiliser spreader directly to the sensor via the terminal, you can immediately apply the fertiliser on a site-specific basis using the sensor data. Another possibility is the use of satellite maps. Incorporating historical data, precise fertilisation maps can be created using ISARIA CONNECT – your central platform for data management. This can also be particularly interesting for the third fertiliser application (also known as quality application), especially if you are looking to improve protein levels.
Yield vs. homogeneity.
If you choose the homogenising variant for the bolting application, you can promote a balanced biomass development within the stand. But if you want to optimise the potential of your crops with ISARIA, a yield-oriented fertilisation strategy is recommended. This provides improved supply to parts of maps with good stands. Sections with weak biomass development such as sandy knolls or shaded sections on forest edges are supplied with lesser amounts of nutrients. A yield-oriented fertilisation strategy should be selected for quality application in any case, because only in this way can the optimum protein levels be achieved in all parts of maps, because a well-developed wheat stand also needs a higher N supply in order to achieve good corn quality.
It is ultimately your choice as to which strategy you feel is appropriate on your land and under your conditions.
What actually are growth stages?
Growth stages describe the growth of grain. The growth stages are divided into nine macro-stages, and they in turn into nine micro-stages. What are the growth stages used for? The categorisation helps you to determine the optimal time for fertilising and pest management.
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