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Fertilise cereals correctly – harvest quality

Potassium – essential for cereal yield

Potassium – the universal guarantee for high quality cereals

Cereal yield and quality insurance using magnesium and sulphur

Fertiliser recommendations for cereals

 

Fertilise cereals correctly – harvest quality

Besides the use of cereals for food and feed, the importance as a renewable energy resource for the production of biofuels is increasing.

 

The quality demands of cereals vary according to the destined end use, but a large proportion of these quality criteria can be positively influenced by judicious use of fertilisers. It is therefore important not only to optimise nitrogen supply but also to adjust the supply of potassium, magnesium and sulphur as well as that of trace elements. The quality of cereals is defined by the intended end use.

 

Depending on the end-use the following criteria are significant:

 

 
Bread-making
Animal feed
Seed crops
Beer brewing
Yield
+++
+++
++
++
Protein
+++
+
 
+++
Hagberg falling number
+++
 
 
 
Sedimentation value
+++
 
 
 
Thousand grain weight
+
+
++
++
Sieve size
+
 
++
++
Hectolitre-weight
 
 
+
++
Germination
 
 
+++
+++
Milling and brewing charateristics
+
 
 
+++
+ = of some importance; + + = important; + + + = particularly important

 

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Potassium – essential for cereal yield

The grain yield of cereals is the sum of crop density (number of ear bearing shoots per square meter) and the yield of each ear (number of grains per ear and their thousand grain weight). By tailoring a specifc nutrient management program to the individual crop, these quality parameters can be successfully influenced.

  • The supply of potassium (K) significantly affects the water balance of the crop. An optimum K supply enables the plant to use the available water more effective and to convert it into yield.
  • The thousand grain weight can fully develop because of the improved synthesis of photosynthetic products in the leaves, their enhanced transport into the grain together with adequate water availability to the crop.
  • Potassium increases the structural stability of plant cells which in turn strengthens the plant thereby reducing the risk of lodging. Resistance to plant diseases is also increased in this way and these two factors both help to positively influence yield.

 

Effect of potassium fertilisation on thousand grain weight (g)

 

Potash fertilisation
category
Winter wheat
(77 trials)
Winter barley
(72 trials)
Low
43.3
44.1
Optimal
45.8
46.9
Increase
+ 5.8 %
+ 6.3 %

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Potassium – the universal guarantee for high quality cereals

  • Potassium improves the proportion of larger grains of > 2.5mm after sieve sorting.
  • This enhanced development of the grain means significant advantages in quality and, therefore an increased profitability for producers of brewing barley and of seed crops.
  • An optimized potassium supply results in an improved exploitation and use of nitrogen in the plant, this results in an increased protein content, sedimentation value and gluten content.
  • A high protein content is an important criterion for the quality of both cereals for bread and for feed.

 

Effect of potassium fertilisation on the protein content and sedimentation value

 

Potassium fertilisation category
Winter wheat
(37 Trials)
Winter barley (32 trials)
 
Protein Content
sedimentation
value
Protein
content
low
14,8
61
12,9
optimal
15,6
68
13,4
Increase
+ 5,4 %
+ 11,5 %
+ 3,9 %

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Cereal yield and quality insurance using magnesium and sulphur

Magnesium

  • Magnesium is required both for the vegetative growth phase as well as in the phase of grain filling.
  • It ensures the development of the foliage during the rapid development at early growth stages of cereal plants. In addition, the early formation of ears and grains is achieved. During the grain filling phase, adequate magnesium is absolutely crucial for photosynthesis of the flag leaf and the husks. This improves grain filling and thousand grain weight.

Sulphur

  • Fertilisation with sulphur results in a more efficient use of nitrogen. This in turn has on the one hand a positive effect on yield and on the other hand increases the protein content.
  • An adequate supply of sulphur also ensures a high quality composition of proteins and, therefore, an improved quality for baking. 

 

The nutrient combination of potassium and magnesium (as well as sulphur) in Korn-Kali® results in significantly higher yields and an increased efficiency of nitrogen fertilisation in comparison to 60er Kali® (muriate of potash, straight potassium chloride) which contains no magnesium or sulphur.

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Fertiliser recommendations for cereals

Fertiliser is applied in order to maintain the fertility of the soil so that its natural yield potential can be protected over the long term. This requires the maintenance of an optimal nutrient content in the soil. Nutrients removed with the harvest have to be replaced through an adequate application of fertiliser. Together with the replacement of removed nutrients adjustments have to be added for site specific losses (for example: leaching or erosion).
 
The total removal of a plant results from the nutrient uptake of the main crop (e.g. grain, tubers or beets) and the uptake of harvest residues (e.g. straw, leaves). If the harvest residues remain on the field, only the removed nutrients by the main crops have to be replaced.

 

Recommendations for soil applications

When planning a fertiliser program for cereals, both the soil fertility and condition and also the required quality of the end product must be taken into account.

 

Total removal (incl. harvest residues) Removal through main crop Fertiliser recommendation due to nutrient uptake
with optimal nutrient soil content class (per hectare)
    Total removal of Through main crop
(kg ha-1)
K2O / MgO / SO3
(kg ha-1)
K2O / MgO / SO3
Potassium Magnesium Potassium Magnesium
Cereals
(at a yield level of 8t)
140 / 30 / 50 50 / 20 / 40 350kg Korn-Kali® 120kg ESTA® Kieserit 125kg Korn-Kali® 100kg ESTA® Kieserit
    Korn-Kali ESTA Kieserit Korn-Kali ESTA Kieserit

 

 

Recommendations for foliar applications

  • For high demand situations and for the control of latent magnesium and sulphur deficiencies, 15-25kg EPSO Top® ha-1 in a 5% solution is recommended. During severe deficiency situations or when deficiency symptoms are visible an increased amount of up to 50kg ha-1 can be applied in two to four split applications.

    EPSO Top®

  • In the case of an additional requirement of trace elements, approx. 20-30kg EPSO Combitop® ha-1 (total amount) can be applied: In autumn 10-15kg ha-1 from EC 15 and in spring twice 10-15kg ha-1 from the start of the main spring growth period. 

    EPSO Combitop®

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