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...
This is the third post in a blog series focused on improving nitrogen (N) use efficiency in California small grains. This post discusses two hand-held devices that indicate plant N levels in small grains to help optimize fertilizer decisions. The tools help determine plant vigor by measuring light reflected from the whole plant canopy or absorbed by a single leaf. Comparing measurements made in and immediately outside of N rich zones in representative areas of the field helps determine if the crop is likely to respond to more N fertilizer. The plant N levels indicated by the hand-held devices complement other important information, which are...
- 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...
- Author: Mark Lundy
- Author: Dinh Giang
- Author: Taylor Nelsen
- Author: Saarah Kuzay
Due to the health concerns surrounding COVID-19, we had to cancel our annual field day that typically occurs in May at UC Davis. While there is no full replacement for seeing field trials in person, the UC small grains research and extension team has been hard at work developing extension resources that we can share digitally. Please take a moment to visit our 2020 Virtual Small Grains Field Day:
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.