Think protein before cutting N

GROWERS LOOKING to cut Nitrogen fertiliser rates this season should beware what impact this will have on grain protein levels, ADAS has warned.

Higher fertiliser prices and potentially more residual soil N this spring means many may look to cut rates, but this can have a significant impact on grain protein, said ADAS‘s Peter Dampney.

He is keen to discover whether current fertiliser recommendations underestimate crop requirements, particularly for many of the higher yielding varieties.

“Group 1 and 2 varieties such as Einstein and Xi19 are capable of producing high yields and proteins, but better yield means protein content is being diluted,” he said.

Many feed and milling wheat varieties could be under-fertilised by up to 50kg N/ha, added Roger Sylvester-Bradley, also from ADAS.

For an in-depth look at fertiliser issues this spring, see Crops magazine (Jan 29), or the Nutrition special in FARMERS WEEKLY (Jan 28).

Details of current Home-Grown Cereals Authority research projects on optimising N fertiliser applications can be found in FWi‘s own HGCA Research In Focus section.