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Agricultural News

Brian Arnall Talks Wheat Management at the Chickasha Field Day

Tue, 03 May 2022 16:04:18 CDT

Brian Arnall Talks Wheat Management at the Chickasha Field Day Farm Director, KC Sheperd was able to catch Brian Arnall, OSU's Nutrient Management Specialist at Chickasha Wheat Field Day for some good information on improving your wheat crops.

Arnall's wheat trials involve mainly the fertility of wheat, heavily on the nitrogen aspect, he said. He said he is also looking into the biologicals that can be added to the seed to see if any nutrient availability or drought resistance can be gained.

The first of Arnall's primary three studies is what he calls the "kitchen sink" because it involves many different biologicals, he said. The information for this study will be released when it comes time for harvest, he added.

"Our other two studies deal with nitrogen and nitrogen timing," Arnall said. "One is protein progression, and we are looking at different management of nitrogen and sulfur to see how to get the best protein and bacon mill out of our wheat."

Years of this work, Arnall said, shows that if you go pre-plant nitrogen, we don't have the same protein in ending as we do if we split nitrogen.

"The sulfur hasn't had much of an impact when we add 10 pounds of sulfur at top-dress unless we are in a deep sandy soil that has a good rainfall year," Arnall said. "In those years, Sulfur has a great response, but in our heavier ground, we are not really seeing any value in adding sulfur in this wheat ground, and we are running in the 60-90-bushel range."

A lot of Arnall's study, he said, is short nitrogen, so he can see a nice difference.

"We also had some wheat that was behind and was going to get some nitrogen today to see if we could boost that protein," Arnall said. "It's a little deficient going into flowering, so we are going to shoot about 24 pounds of nitrogen on it today and a couple of sources to see how much of a protein boost we can get."

As for producers' threshold for nitrogen, Arnall said he likes to look at it as a long-term average because nitrogen is a moving target.

"If we have a really good year, we have a high nitrogen demand and we are looking at more in-season and late season applications," Arnall said. "Years like this where we are really just struggling and lacking moisture, we can pull it back and we need less nitrogen."

Arnall said we look at this as a balancing act. Some years we may be at one pound of N per bushel, and some may be at 3, but he would like to see that average at two or less, he added.

Arnall said not to live on pre-plant for protein.

"This is a heavy, grain-only comment," Arnall said. "If you are grazing, we have got to have that pre-plant for growth. When we make protein, the protein is nitrogen, so the wheat crop makes protein as it is filling in the grain, so if we have run out of nitrogen in the soil, by the time we make grain we are going to be short on protein."

Nitrogen applied pre-plant, Arnall said, has had more time sitting in the environment. A good year in Oklahoma for wheat needs rain, he added, and rain means we lose nitrogen, so for a good wheat yield, we need more leaching, and pre-plant is not there.

"If you want to grow good grain, only wheat, we need to really be transitioning to spring at green-up on through jointing application. That is where we see a nice boost in protein and really nice boost in yield."

In the areas that still have a wheat crop looking good, with we have heads coming up and a little bit of moisture, Arnall said if you see yellowing on the lower leaves that is a sign of nitrogen deficiency.

"If you think you can get a protein premium by selling at a higher protein, you could do a shot of nitrogen right now over the top," Arnall said. "Yield-wise, there is nothing we can do at this point."

Click the LISTEN BAR below to hear KC's interview with Brian Arnall.



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