||Heres our area being fertilized with liquid nitrogen fertilizer.
Most farmers will "topdress" nitrogen fertilizer in the late winter or early
spring to help the wheat grow vigorously and produce more grain. It is called topdressing
because the fertilizer is applied to the soil surface and it is not worked into the soil.
If you remember the August 17, 1999 pictures, nitrogen and phosphorus were being applied,
but that fertilizer was being placed in the soil. You might ask why we didnt put all
the fertilizer on August 17th. Some farmers apply all their fertilizer before
planting, while others split the fertilizer applications. If you put all the fertilizers
on before planting some might be lost and youve wasted money. But if you split the
applications the plants will have enough fertilizer for fall growth and there will be more
added when the wheat starts growing in the spring. Today, we are putting on about 40
pounds of nitrogen per acre. Also, a herbicide is being applied with the fertilizer to
save the number of trips across the field. The herbicide will prevent weeds
from growing, but it wont hurt the wheat plants. This machine is called a Spra-Coupe
and the spray boom is 51 feet from one side to the other. Lets take a closer look at
the Spra-Coupe applying the fertilizer.
||You might be wondering where the spray tank is that holds all the liquid
fertilizer. If you look closely you can see the yellowish tank, which holds about 200
gallons of liquid, just behind the white cab where the driver is sitting (theres
really someone in the cab, you can just barely see him). If you look at the left side of
the spray boom or arm you can see the spray mist of the fertilizer thats being
applied. You certainly wouldnt want to apply fertilizers and herbicides on a windy
day. Now, lets look at a closeup of the wheat.
||The plants look pretty good. You can see some leaf tips have a purplish
color, which is due to the cool nights. Today is a beautiful day and the temperature is
near 60 F. If we have many days like this the wheat will start growing actively. We
dont want it to start growing too early, because the weather could become very cold
again and that could hurt the wheat plants. Did you notice how powdery the soil surface
looks? The freezing and thawing of the soil surface dries it out and that makes it powdery
and dusty. If we have a windy day those soil particles could be blown away easily. We need
more snow or rain to keep the surface moist so the soil particles wont blow away.