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Wheat Yield, Quality, and Plant Heath Parameters from Starter Applications of MicroEssentials in Northwest Minnesota

Start Date: 2011
Principal Investigator: Nancy Jo Ehlke
Organization: University of Minnesota, Department of Soil, Water, and Climate
Status: Complete

Background Info

This research compares MicroEssentials® alone and MicroEssentials plus ESN (Environmentally Smart Nitrogen) against a standard phosphorus (P) fertilizer starter program in spring wheat. In addition to phosphorus, the MicroEssentials products contain sulfur and zinc, which have been reported to be involved in protein synthesis and may increase protein levels in wheat. A coated urea product may offer the potential to improve wheat yield and quality (protein), especially if the product is not released into the soil solution until later in the plant developmental stages of the spring wheat. The combination of this coated urea and MicroEssentials offers the potential to improve both wheat yields and seed quality.


To compare MicroEssentials with a standard phosphorus fertilizer applied as a starter fertility treatment when seeding spring wheat

To evaluate spring wheat yield and quality from MicroEssentials, MicroEssentials plus ESN coated nitrogen, and the standard recommended fertility treatments

Key Findings

Throughout the two-year trial, the highest wheat yields were obtained with a starter fertilizer applied at planting compared to phosphorus and potassium applied broadcast or no starter. No statistical differences at the 10 percent level of confidence were detected from any of the MicroEssentials products compared to the standard P source.

Statistical differences in wheat yield or quality were not observed between the premium phosphate and coated urea products compared to the standard fertilizer products. However, the environmental conditions in both years were not conducive to fertilizer loss due to in-season rainfall patterns.

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