Soil Temperatures

The first nitrogen fertiliser (N) application to hybrid barley, typically applied around mid-tillering (GS25), is important for initiating hybrid vigour in the spring and supporting the optimum number of tillers for yield. Hybrid vigour is key for grass weed suppression and aids the development of root structures enabling the crop to scavenge for moisture and further nutrients.

Applying N once root zone temperatures reach 4.5-5.0°C  improves N uptake. We are recording temperatures across the UK on this website page to provide a benchmark of soil temperatures in different locations. It is important to also still monitor your own crop too.

Why is soil temperature important for fertiliser application?

Nitrogen application should coincide with the onset of spring root growth which happens once root zone temperatures reach 4.5-5.0°C . This means that the plant is able to take up the nitrogen immediately rather than letting it sit unused in the soil.

Temperature recordings across the UK

  • Measure soil temperatures 5-10 cm deep, where a lot of root activity is going to happen.
  • Proactively record soil temperature regularly.
  • Apply N once root zone temperatures reach 4.5 to 5.0°C or above for 3 consecutive days.

 Soil temperature by date
Hitchin            8 
Boston             9
Beverley 7 8           
Driffield  5           
Ely 7    3       
Saffron Walden 76.5  6.5 6 6.5  6.57
Long Stratton9             
St. Boswells       8      
Rait     1        
Inverurie     3        
Didcot0     367  76 
Shifnal  6.5    7.3    4.7 
Corwen     5