Weather patterns are highly variable across the state of California. They change from year to year and across locations. While parts of the state may be experiencing drought conditions this year (Figure 1), each location can have dramatically different weather. For growers and agronomists, location-specific weather information is essential to understand plant growth and water use. It is also important for planning field management activities such as fertilization and irrigation.
We have created a new interactive website where users can access their location-specific precipitation and temperature data:
- Author: Konrad Mathesius
- Author: Taylor Nelsen
- Author: Mark Lundy
Seeding rate is an important consideration for small grain growers at planting. There are a number of agronomic factors that help to determine the ideal seeding rate such as whether a field will be irrigated, the potential for weed pressure or lodging, the planting date, crop type, and seed germinability. In addition, there can be a large range of seed weights among different small grain varieties and from one seed lot to the next. To achieve full yield potential under irrigated conditions in California, 25 to 30 plants per square foot is a good target density for wheat. As a seeding rate this translates to approximately 1.2 million seeds per acre with a seed weight of 40 gram per thousand seeds. However, adjustments to the seeding...
As the fall planting season begins, we'd like to share recently developed case studies detailing N management actions and crop productivity outcomes in several small grain fields during the 2019-20 growing season. Growers from different parts of the state worked with UC Cooperative Extension to implement N-rich reference zones in their fields. The N-rich reference zone is a relatively small area within a field where extra N fertilizer is added at the beginning of the season. This extra fertilizer ensures that the reference zone is not N-limited between planting and the time when an in-season fertilizer decision is made. When a grower is...
- Author: Michelle Leinfelder-Miles
- Author: Nick Clark
- Author: Sarah Light
- Author: Konrad Mathesius
This is our second in a series of blog posts on improving nitrogen (N) use efficiency in California small grains. This post focuses on the use of N-rich reference zones to assess in-season N status and make management decisions based on crop need. Our goal is to help growers and consultants learn how to use N-rich zones to improve small grain N fertilizer use efficiency and reduce negative environmental outcomes. To demonstrate what we know about this practice across the small grain growing regions of the state, our team has helped growers establish N-rich zones in their fields across a wide range of soil and climatic conditions. These demonstration sites are in the Sacramento Valley, Delta Region, San Joaquin Valley, and the...
Measuring soil nitrogen (N) prior to fertilizing can improve N fertilizer management. The soil nitrate quick test is a simple and low-cost test. It provides a ballpark estimate of the soil nitrate-N concentration in the rootzone. Nitrate is a highly plant-available form of nitrogen. Using the soil nitrate quick test when N fertilizer decisions are being made will help define a range of fertilizer rates appropriate for that field. This can provide several benefits. These include improved N use efficiency, lower input costs, improved grain yield or grain protein, and reduced N loss to the air or below the crop rootzone.