Give your crop potential a boost: Winter Wheat

  • Whastsapp

Give your crop potential a boost: Winter Wheat

Wheat is the most extensively grown commercial food on earth. The majority of the world's sown wheat is winter-wheat, and it is used for production of bread, pasta, malting and brewing, industrial starch and alcohol. Straw is an important by-product of wheat grain production. The whole plant is also used for green fodder and for production of silage for livestock.

Wheat can be grown on practically all soil types, except on very light sandy soils, or on peaty ones. Optimal pH for winter wheat is 6.5. Winter wheat prefers relatively fertile soils, but can do with low-fertility soils, given that adequate fertilization is applied. Winter wheat cultivars do tolerate waterlogged soils.

Winter wheat prefers temperatures at 15–25 °C during germination, but can tolerate also 2–30 °C. Optimal temperature at tillering and initiation of ear primordia is 6–9 °C. Optimal temperature during beginning of stem elongation, forming of ear primordia, flag leaf, floret reduction, booting and ear emergence is below 18 °C. Later on, the most favorable temperature for flowering, grain initiation, grain formation and maturing is between 20–25 °C.

A traditional fertilization method is with commodity fertilizers, applied by broadcasting or in a row. Phosphorous and Potassium should be applied in the autumn, before or during planting. About 30% of the Nitrogen can be applied at that time, while the remaining 70% at the early vegetative stages of spring (between 1st and 2nd node visible) and in between of the end of stem extension and beginning of heading, in boot stage. In autumn, furrow application can be chosen by using coated mini granulated fertilizers like Agromaster Start Mini in dosage of 60-80 kg/ha. In poor soils, a lower dosage of 30-40 kg/ha, may be used in addition to the standard fertilization, in order to combine its starter effect with well-balanced nutrition.

The latest generation of starter fertilizers

The new trends in the development of fertilizer technologies for agricultural crops envisage the usage of micro-granules fertilizers as an integrated part of a standard program to feed the plants. With the support of its specialists and the research and development department, ICL created Agromaster Start Mini. This is a special and unique product which combines the standard micro-granules fertilizer's effect with the controlled release effect of coated Nitrogen. This combination ensures both an immediate release of nutrients which plants need in the first stages of vegetation (rooting and tillering) and guarantee a continuous Nitrogen feeding during the crop cycle. This product does not affect the germination or the emergence of the young plants, which can occur with other fertilizers because of the high level of salts.


Benefits of Agromaster Start Mini:

  • Localized fertilization, with maximum efficiency of nutrients usage
  • Easier to use, less work, and less soil compaction due to the reduction of other applications
  • Controlled-release of Nitrogen for a long lasting effect
  • Starter effect generated by the immediate availability of Phosphorus to the young root system
  • Enhanced crop uniformity thanks to controlled nutrition
  • Exclude the competition of weeds for nutrients
  • Additional Magnesium and Sulphur to intensify the photosynthetic activity and plant’s growth

Foliar feeding
Foliar feeding is commonly included in winter wheat management programs, by tank-mixing the foliar fertilizers with crop-protection products. Foliar feeding boosts plant development, correct mineral nutrient deficiencies and strengthens the plants against abiotic factors (e.g. drought, heat, cold soils) and biotic factors (e.g. nematodes, pests and diseases)

Growers of winter wheat aim for high yield, high protein content (10-15%) and high protein quality. This goals can only be achieved with optimal plant nutrition and Foliar fertilizers will play an important role in this. For this reason, ICL Specialty Fertilizers ideal recommendation for foliar feeding starts in autumn with one application of Agroleaf Power High P (12-52-5+TE) – 3-5 kg/ha, before tillering, in order to boost the rooting system and prepare the plants for winter season.

In spring, 1 application of Agroleaf Power High N (31-11-11+TE) – 3-5kg/ha, at the 1st node visible, will boost the vegetation growth and it will improve faster the development of ear differentiation and the first stage of the flower development which occur in this stage.

When the 2nd internode is visible, an application of Agroleaf Power Total (20-20-20+TE)- 3-5 kg/ha is recommended, to provide balanced nutrition that complements the Nitrogen top dressing fertilization. Its content in Phosphorus and Potassium will improve the stamens development and grain forming in the ear. This is a critical stage which will make the difference in yield and quality.

Before flowering, in order to improve grain quality, Agroleaf Power High K (15-10-31+TE) – 3-5 kg/ha is recommended due to the ratio N:K of 1:1.5. Choose this product only if the second side dressing of Nitrogen application has been done. If not, then you may choose Agroleaf Power High N (31-11-11+TE) – 3-5 kg/ha.
In order to improve the level of proteins, which can make the difference in grain’s price, a last application may be done, after flowering,  in “milk” stage with Agroleaf Power High N (31-11-11+TE) – 3 -5 kg/ha.

Trial case:
In 2015-2016, in an official trial station - INCDA-Fundulea from Romania, Agromaster Start Mini was tested to compare its performance against the standard grower practice. Grower practice base fertilization consists in conventional fertilizers, broadcast applied in dosage on 80 kg/ha P2O5 + 40 kg/ha K2O. Agromaster Start Mini (21-21-5+2MgO+15SO3) was tested in 2 different plots, in dosage of 80 and 60 kg/ha (Agromaster Start Mini 1 & 2). An extra application of Nitrogen has been done in spring, in all the objects, with a dosage of 40 kg/ha of Nitrogen.
Read the complete trial here


Although the level of Nitrogen applied was similar, the level of protein was higher for Agromaster Start Mini, applied in 80 kg/ha, as well as the yield was increased up to 40% versus Grower Practice. These results can clearly show that using Agromaster Start Mini, in furrow application, is highly efficient vs broadcasting conventional fertilizers, especially for Phosphorus availability to the young root system.

“In conclusion, the effect of Agromaster Start Mini treatment in the presented weather conditions, with severe drought, is remarkable”, Dr. ing. Ionuț Țințișan - Crop fertilization dept., NARDI Fundulea, Romania.

By: Cristian Filote
International Technical Manager
ICL Specialty Fertilizers