University of Maryland Extension

FSNT for Nitrogen Applications on Wheat and Barley

Farmers who plant wheat and barley for grain production must determine soil nitrate levels before applying additional nitrogen. This includes nitrogen supplied from chemical fertilizer and from manure.

Soil nitrate concentration can be tested by a lab or by your Nutrient Management Advisor. This test is done by using the Fall Soil Nitrate Test (FSNT). The benefits of using the FSNT include:

  • Saving money on N fertilizer if there is adequate nitrate-nitrogen in the soil left over from the previous corn crop.
  • Optimizing yield if there is inadequate nitrate-nitrogen in the soil.

A special note on FSNT following soybeans: only one field in 30 comparisons over 3 years showed a positive response to N following soybeans. Therefore, fall fertilizer-N application to wheat following soybeans is not recommended.

If you would like your Nutrient Management Advisor to perform the FSNT for your operation, please coordinate with the advisor before delivering samples.


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