T0 spray plans were on the verge of being abandoned this week by Farmers Weekly’s Barometer farms in favour of T1 sprays.

Andrew Blenkiron, who manages 1173ha at Chillington Estate, near Wolverhampton, had already made the decision to switch from T0s on land too wet to travel on.

“We’ve had to abandon it on Claire that is further forward, and Oakley and some of the Alchemy.” A T0 of Bravo plus wild-oat killer and chlormequat had been applied to Soissons, Humber and some of the Alchemy.

“I’m not overly concerned – there doesn’t seem to be too much disease moving in. The key thing is to be ready when it warms up and crops start moving,” he said.

Chris Moore, farming near Scunthorpe, was taking advantage of slightly better weather to apply barley fungicides to 100ha (250 acres) on Monday.

Conditions were still less than perfect, he admitted. “The leaf is not completely dry, but they should have been on a week ago.”

Sprayer spray

Barometer growers, like most farmers, have struggled to find good spray opportunities so far this spring

Wheat T0s (Alto Elite + Bravo) would be the next priority, but those too were getting quite late to apply, he said. “If we get to the end of the week without putting them on we’ll switch to a better triazole and apply a T1.”

Tony Reynolds, in the Midlands, had just 10% of his T0s left to apply. “We started on 15 April. Last year it was 14 March. But we’re up with the disease. The whole crop is backward.

“But if it gets warm, and stays warm, T1s will be within a week.”

Andrew Barr in Kent and Peter Snell in Dorset, had managed to apply T0s at the beginning of April. Mr Snell was hoping to start T1 sprays on Timber on Tuesday. “It’s a fair way ahead of the Alchemy.”

His T1 was going to be Tracker + Bravo, he said. “The boscalid covers for eyespot and helps persistency, and epoxiconazole is a little but better on rusts than prothioconazole,” he explained.

Like Mr Snell, Mr Barr had seen a bit of rust earlier on, but both said it wasn’t an issue now. “It is mainly septoria now, with some smudges of eyespot, apart from the Humber first wheat. We’ll be going with Tracker plus Bravo on everything for simplicity.”

Final leaf three was a third to a half out on Timber, while it was just coming out on the Humber, with Cordiale further behind. “There’s no panic, providing we get on this week or next.”

Northern Barometers

In Northern Ireland, James Wray was forsaking T0 sprays in favour of other priorities after extremely wet weather had delayed fieldwork.

Those jobs included planting potatoes and drilling spring barley, he explained. “There also doesn’t seem to be much disease, and my crops are quite backward because of the awful weather we’ve had.”

Septoria was the main concern for Scottish Barometer Mike Eagers. He had split his wheat varieties into gold, silver and bronze categories for yield potential as well as disease risk. “Gold wheats with a yield potential have received a T0 of Ceando, while silver and bronze varieties have not, mainly because of disease pressure is low. T1s will be a higher rate of Ceando topped up with Joules for the septoria pressure.”

T0s were out of the question now, according to Ian Bird from Castle Eden, near Hartlepool. “We’ll have to use something a lot stronger at T1.” He was also concerned about not being able to apply growth regulators. “It’s also due for another 70 units/acre of N – it’s only had 30.”

Active ingredients:

  • Alto Elite chlorothalonil + cyproconazole
  • Bravo/Joules chlorothalonil
  • Ceando epoxiconazole + metrafenone
  • Cherokee cyproconazole + propiconazole + chlorothalonil
  • Tracker boscalid + epoxiconazole