Fall fertilizer application is essential for winter wheat vitality throughout winter. Fall application reserves nutrients in the soil, helping winter wheat withstand colder months. Storing major nutrients such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) in the soil allows stronger root systems to develop, resulting in healthier plants and the potential for increased yields. 

Growers have come to accept most P fertilizer applied in the fall becomes fixed in the soil, unavailable to crops during winter. In fact, as much as 75 to 95 percent of applied P fertilizer – whether applied in fall or spring – gets fixed in the soil, making it unavailable to the plant (Mortvet, 1994). Many winter wheat growers use an SFP product called AVAIL® Phosphorus Fertilizer Enhancer to help overcome this problem.

University adds AVAIL to fall test plots

In 2010, Kansas State University conducted a winter wheat test plot with AVAIL and fall P fertilization. AVAIL was applied with DAP along with different rates of N, and then all were tested on specific plots. Applying AVAIL showed increased yields with every plot in the university study. The most significant difference, a 12 bushel-per-acre increase, resulted from adding AVAIL to DAP with 20 pounds per acre of nitrogen. In the same study, harvested grain tissue sampling provided increased P uptake—on average 6.9 percent—increasing grain weight and quality.

Grower tests AVAIL on winter wheat

In 2010, a grower in Guide Rock, Neb., tested AVAIL with his winter wheat fall fertilizer application. AVAIL was applied with a 13-40-0 blend. At harvest, the AVAIL-treated plot showed 53.5 bushels per acre — a 10.9 bushel-per-acre increase compared to the non-AVAIL-treated plot.

About AVAIL

AVAIL is a water-soluble additive for granular or liquid phosphorus fertilizer and acts as a shield, protecting the fertilizer from elements like aluminum, iron, calcium and magnesium that normally would tie up the phosphorus and render as much as 95 percent of it unavailable to the plant. This form of protection is significant because the phosphate remains available for plant uptake during the entire growing season and, most important, during early development — the most crucial time for creating optimal yield potential. AVAIL is not plant-specific and may be used for a variety of crops with proven response when applied with dry or liquid phosphate fertilizers.

For more information about AVAIL Phosphorus Fertilizer Enhancer and SFP’s complete product line,call 1-888-446-GROW or visit sfp.com.