CEREAL GROWERS should hold off early Nitrogen applications on forward looking crops, experts have advised.

Mild winter weather has caused faster mineralization of organic nitrogen, resulting in strong crop development, particularly in well established wheat, said Nickerson wheat breeder, Ron Granger.

“Early applications of N will increase lodging pressure and on well established first wheats there is no need for any.” Many of these crops may not need nitrogen until April, he noted.

Some forward crops may require growth control, rather than early N, added Steve Waterhouse from BASF.

“As mid-September sowings this year are even more forward growers should be thinking of boosting their PGR programme to take account of this,” he said.

But varieties differ in their development patterns and growers should take this into account when planning PGR applications, said Mr Granger.

For example, varieties such as Einstein develop much faster than Claire, he noted.

Growers looking to use an early season PGR should opt for New 5C Cycocel (chlormequat chloride) or Meteor (chlormequat chloride + choline choride + imazaquin), Mr Waterhouse recommended.