1) the number of ears per square metre, 2) the number of grains per ear, and 3) the size of the grain. All of these can be influences by crop nutrition choices.
The numbers of ears is driven first and foremost by drilling the correct seed rate and having good seedbed conditions to maximise establishment. Early applications of NPKS fertiliser can also help with manipulating tiller numbers. As can conventional practices like rolling
Crops are varied in this growth stages. Those early drilled crops at GS30 (the traditional T0 timing) and those later drilled crops, or second cereals still tillering. Therefore there are two different foliar nutrition strategies to consider.
For the more advanced crop, the number of ears is set. Focus now turns to maximising number of grains per ear. This is where the micronutrients boron, copper and zinc can have a big impact. The time to have an impact is when the ear is being formed (GS30-32). Alongside is the need to maximise photosynthesis to ensure the crop has a healthy plant structure. Both magnesium and manganese play a key role.
YaraVita Gramitrel was developed specifically for the cereal crop. It contains all the above nutrients in an easy to use formulation. A fully replicated trials programme conducted over 6 years (2016 - 2021) showed 2.0 lt/ha applied in the spring between growth stage 30 and 32, delivered an average yield increase of 0.55 t/ha.
In practical terms when should I apply the product? This should be driven by the growth stage and biomass of the crop. For the advanced crops then T0 would work, where you have more leaf than soil. For backward crops then allowing them time to achieve more growth would be wise, then include the Gramitrel at T1.
A proactive approach to nutrition is better than cure and generally more cost effective, however there needs to be sufficient foliage to optimise the product.
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