We went with what we read in magazines as
far as recommended fertilizer rates which was basically don’t fertilize it, and you
can grow it, it’ll be fine. Well yeah you can grow it and it’ll be okay,
but you’re not going to get good yield and you’re really going to see some major variations
in the field. We’re getting better at it, but there’s not
a lot of data out there that’s available to know what I should fertilize rye at. There’s good numbers for oats and those numbers
are changing and there’s some good resources for oats, but for things like rye, there’s not a lot of resources
as far as fertilizer goes still. NDSU has some decent numbers, but that’s for
their soil types and I don’t know how, if their recommendations will transfer down here
perfectly, but that’s what we’re using right now for our fertilizer rates. Well, I’ve kind of done limited fertilizer. I’ve tried some nitrogen on it in the spring. I’ve had good luck getting a lot of biomass
and got a lot of growth. As far as yield I’ve had mixed results with
nitrogen yield. This last year I took a
little different approach. We did some leaf tests, sent in some leaf
tissue samples just to kind of see what we were lacking and one of the things I found
by doing that is that we were short in boron and sulfur, some of the micronutrients. So, I kind of focused more on putting that
in the fertilizer. I put 30 pounds of nitrogen on but we added
boron and sulfur to it and I had good results this year I don’t know if it was because it
was just a good year for the rye. I plan on doing it next year again just to
see if it follows through another year. But where we did it, we did a side-by-side
yield check and it made ten bushel to the acre
difference on most of it. Some of it was up 15-20 bushel just depending
on the soil type you were on but I had good results doing that and that’s the best response I’ve gotten out of any fertilizer on rye. With rye, I’d like to get dry fertilizer put
on before the crop. It’s a challenge since we’re not doing the
fertilizing ourselves we’re hiring a local company to do it. We have to work on their schedule. So we put dry fertilizer down and then I’ll
drill and in early spring, way early spring like just after frost thaws out, we’ll go
in and put on AMS a decent amount of AMS for nitrogen fertilizer and sulfur. So whether you’re talking about a winter grain
or you’re talking about a spring grain, N, P, and K are obviously essential nutrients and they’re going to determine yield potential and they’re going to do it fairly early on. So again whether you’re managing an organic
or conventional system, you need to make sure to have an adequate supply of N, P, and K
for these cereals. And it’s not quite what we’re talking about
with corn and beans. So instead of let’s say a pound removal which
is commonly recommended for corn if we want to go by that metric. With oats for instance or wheat
we’re talking more like three-quarters of a pound
or eight-tenths of a pound. And if you’re managing in a system where you
can use synthetic nitrogen, this period here this Z-3 when you’re tillering and jointing
in between this stage. When you add supplemental nitrogen at this
point you greatly enhance the plant’s ability to put on additional tillers which does potentially
increase your yield ceiling by increasing the number of possible seedheads you can have
in a given surface area. One thing that I would be wary of recommending
is that over N additions can be just as detrimental sometimes as not having enough N. So we have, especially in a crop like oats
that’s a little taller or rye or triticale these crops that are taller and that haven’t
been bred necessarily for high-end conditions, when you add too much N you can have an issue
like lodging. Which is you end up promoting a ton of growth
and you get these very lush stems and you get these heavy seedheads and then what you
have is on a windy day or on a heavy rain or if soil conditions are right the plants
can fall over which makes management a real hassle and can greatly reduce your yield potential