As a client proudly showed me his uniform crop of Gallant, the first wheat field I have seen at full ear emergence this year, I found myself feeling a little choked up.

It’s been a challenging season, but at last we can see that our efforts have not been in vain. And dare I say it? It is just possible that some of the earlier September drilled wheat’s will yield reasonably well?

Cool, dry conditions during May will have delayed pupation of orange wheat blossom midge. This leads me to think that most September/October drilled wheats will escape midge infestation. However, don’t take my word for it! Monitor your susceptible varieties from ear emergence until the end of flowering. Depending on the time of adult midge emergence, later autumn or spring drilled wheat’s may be at risk.

Remember, prophylactic sprays for midge control are discouraged and treatment of resistant varieties is rarely cost effective. In cereals and pulses aphid populations are low but keep an eye out for colonies which could build quickly if temperatures warm.

Winter wheats have received a T2 fungicide at flag leaf emergence within the last fortnight and most crops are very clean. This is especially important for thinner crops, where all leaf layers will make a valuable contribution to yield.

Showers are forecast next week and warm, wet conditions during flowering will encourage fusarium infection and foliar diseases. I will be recommending that winter wheat’s receive an ear spray. This should give improved grain quality via disease control. The value of the T3 spray will only be apparent in hindsight, but long term trials show that on average this treatment is cost effective.

The end of the spray season is coming, but there are still a few outstanding sprays on the various spring crops. Bean crops may still require a second fungicide and insecticide e.g. for bruchid beetle control. Bruchids are notoriously difficult, but control can be improved by monitoring temperature and by paying attention to application techniques.

Weed control in sugar beet is almost complete as the more vigorous crops nearly meet across the row. At first, weed control on cold, dry soils was difficult, but as temperatures have warmed and after the rain, residual herbicides have been more effective and now we have gained control and crops are clean.

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