OSR yield prospects boosted by delayed N

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If only the weather were more predictable! Early on in the year we had more rain than liked, and now crops are starting to show the effects of drought.

If all of us experts are right and delaying nitrogen on oilseeds is beneficial, then expect a big harvest, as the current weather is delaying, already delayed applications.

The canopies are looking more ideal for light interception with less bulk. These shorter crops will be less prone to lodging and damage when passing with the flowering fungicide and liquid nitrogen applications. On the latter, as reported before, liquid Nufol performed well last year when applied at petal fall. It was applied at 150litres/ha Nufol and diluted with 150litres/ha water to make a total volume of 300litres/ha. This application was in addition to the 215kg nitrogen/ha applied for the main dressings.

Cereal crops are around growth stage 31-32 and ready for main dressings. Most crops will have had an earlier dressing, which if remained dry will have not been taken up. In view of this you may be asking as to the benefits of going again.

The decision is one of risk management and I would suggest that not applying or delaying is more of a risk than continuing as planned. It only needs the weather to change for the worse again and suddenly all the spring activities start to become mis-timed.

The one area of concern would be the ammonia loss from urea that will have occurred recently. Those crops that have received urea need close monitoring as the season progresses, as if the nitrogen has been lost more of a final top up with ammonium nitrate may be required.