April 2021 How Much Nitrogen


The last newsletter had a table with the amount of nitrogen that winter forage removes at 20% crude protein, depending on the yield.  With the higher cost of nitrogen this spring and even higher cost for soymeal in the ration, getting the nitrogen right is important.  If you are really good, you can put a leaf between cheek and gum and can tell much nitrogen is needed to 4 decimal places.  For the rest of us mere mortals, we need to guestimate what your field will respond to economically.  The huge factor of yield potential depends on the planting date and fall growth.  This establishes the number of tillers which establishes the yield potential for each field (see graph at right).  If the triticale is planted on time (10 days – 2 weeks before wheat for grain) it maximizes the number and size of tillers. Planting on time means you have  a significant high yield potential.  If sufficient nitrogen was available in the soil (from heavy manure applied before the previous summer crop, or up to 60 lbs. of fall applied nitrogen),  the yield potential can increase 43% more from increased size and number of tillers (photo at right).  Our replicated research found that the on-time planting will pick up and store 60 to 120 lbs. of nitrogen before winter, utilizing the manure nitrogen still being released after the summer corn silage is harvested.  If your triticale is 6 to 10 inches tall and thick (picture at right) then you can assume the higher number and can subtract that from the topdress. I have found that fields like this have a potential yield of 3 – 4 tons of dry matter. 

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