Oklahoma Wheat: Potential Risk of Leaf Injury from Topdressing N This Week

Image from Ohio State University

The forecast indicates hot (~75 F) and windy (~20-30 mph) conditions this week in Oklahoma (Mesonet). If you plan to topdress N to wheat, be aware that there is a high risk of causing leaf burn due to the predicted weather.

When comparing application methods, a stream bar is better than a flat fan for topdressing N in general. A flat fan would burn and even kill the wheat if used this week. However, using a stream bar under 20-30 mph wind is also problematic, as the wind will spread out the stream over the wheat, making it splash over larger areas result in more foliar burn.

What rate can I apply without causing leaf burn from N this week?

There is a high risk of causing leaf burn by applying any rate (20 to 200lbs/ac) of N in the next 2-3 days (March 8-11, 2021). If using streamer nozzles the total amount of leaf damage could be small resulting in no yield loss. In this case, applying N this week may result in streaked fields later, but the wheat should grow out of it if conditions are appropriate.

However, as you start to increase coverage (i.e. the amount of leaf burn) there is a threshold at which yield is lost. In cases with flat fan the high N rate will potentially kill the majority above ground biomass and negatively impact yield.

Other options to reduce the potential risk of injury. Wait to topdress N when the weather cools down (if you believe you will be able to get into the field before jointing) or split the N rate between now and sometime before jointing. If you want to apply and are very worried about tissue damage, one option is to dilute the UAN with water. Usually a 50/50 (UAN/H2O) ratio does a good job of reduction impact of the salt in UAN.

If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to us!

Brain Arnall at b.arnall@okstate.edu

Amanda de Oliveira Silva at silvaa@okstate.edu

Streamer nozzles provide uniform application of UAN in a wide variety of environmental conditions.




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