Drier conditions have enabled good progress with the early spring workload, but regular rainfall is essential to maximise the current yield potential. Warming temperatures, heavy dews and recently applied nitrogen have accelerated crop growth. Most beet crops were drilled into good seedbeds during the 2nd and 3rd week of March and are now beginning to emerge.

Early to mid-sown wheats have recently received a T0 fungicide spray and early PGRs. As yellow rust pressure is high (and less discriminating than current Recommended List ratings suggest) all crops should be monitored carefully and spray timings should be kept tight with 3 to 3.5 weeks between sprays.

Later drilled crops are often those most vulnerable to yellow rust, these should also be protected from this disease, even if this means adjusting the traditional T0 timing (usually 3 weeks from T1, emergence of leaf 3). The early occurrence of yellow rust will also encourage more strobilurin use at T1, especially if followed by SDHI chemistry at flag leaf.

In rapeseed, consider the pollen beetle strategy; high resistance to pyrethroids is now widespread in populations across East Anglia, therefore, the use of “non pyrethroid” options (thiacloprid e.g. Biscaya, pymetrozine e.g. Plenum and indoxacarb e.g. Rumo) is essential where populations are above threshold.

This season rapeseed crops are even and moving quickly between the vulnerable growth stages. However, if like last season growth slows before most flowers are open and attack is persistent a more costly, two pronged “non-pyrethroid” strategy must be considered e.g. Plenum (up to yellow bud) followed by Biscaya. Check individual product labels for the latest timing and number of applications.

Winter barley T1 fungicides and early plant growth regulators should be applied at early stem extension. Spring herbicide control in barley should be completed before the crop meets in the row and shades the target weeds.

Winter and spring beans should be monitored for leaf notching by adult pea and bean weevils. In dry conditions, slow growing spring crops are at greatest risk.