After a delayed onset to crop development this spring the last few weeks have seen a vast amount of fieldwork carried out as crops have at last started to move through growth stages. Generally good soil conditions have also allowed a considerable amount of spring drilling to be completed as well. The theme for this season is likely to continue with a relatively compact window for spraying and fertilising crops as they make up for a delayed start.
Winter wheats should all have had their T0s bar the later drilled crops which will start their fungicide program at a more standard T1 timing in most cases. Crop development is likely to see T1 treatments applied during the last week of April approximately 2-3 weeks after the T0.
Root lodging could be an issue this year especially where frost lift weakened root systems. In most cases crops will follow a split PGR program to improve rooting and stem strength. Atlantis/Pacifica treatments applied two to three weeks ago seem to be working well – conditions allowed treatments to be made with a minimum of tank mix partners to maximise efficacy.
The warm weather has encouraged rapid stem extension in oilseed rape as well as pollen beetle. Most crops were lined up for a green bud fungicide with insecticide this week. Fungicide choice will be dictated by crop size during March and into April.
Most crops warrant a PGR-type fungicide approach although there are a few situations where this would clearly be detrimental. The green bud fungicide also starts the sclerotinia protection program offering about three weeks early protection after which one or two flowering fungicides may be required depending on flowering development, weather and sclerotinia risk.
Spring beans are emerging and with weevil active are due an early insecticide with trace element mix. Spring barleys are around the two to three leaf stage and are being checked for grassweed emergence with a view to tidying grassweeds up before broad-leaved weed treatments.
Sugar beet has gone into some excellent seed-beds and is emerging quickly with first post-emergence herbicides due over the next few days. Plant counts are also being carried out to ascertain % establishment and identify any reasons for poor plant stands.