Growing at last! At last spring growth has begun, perhaps a whole month later than “normal”? With recent warmer temperatures, sunshine, showers and applied nitrogen, stressed winter crops are rallying and growing quickly.

Generally September and October sown first wheats look to have good yield potential.  And then, there are the other winter crops (later drilled wheat and struggling rape) that have been left to grow in the hope that they will achieve a higher margin than a spring replacement (a difficult decision in many cases often dictated by the ease of making a new seed-bed). 

All crops will need careful management to achieve their full potential.  Robust inputs are planned on good crops and although more difficult to justify the backward, thin crops will still require robust pest and weed control. Each input will be questioned and adjusted on a field by field basis.

Early September sown wheats have reached the beginning of stem extension triggering T0 fungicide and early PGRs sprays.  On these crops the T1 fungicide (at emergence of leaf 3) is likely to be required in late April (2-3 weeks later). 

Later drilled crops, particularly if at risk from yellow rust should also receive an appropriate fungicide; these crops are likely to reach T1 in early May and should not be left unprotected until then. Foliar disease will be encouraged by warm, most conditions and fast growth.

Just a handful of robust oilseed rapes will receive a PGR at green bud (yes there are a few!).  Pollen beetle will appear once daytime temperatures reach 15C. More forward crops may race through the susceptible stages, backward and pigeon chewed crops moving slowly from green bud to open flower will be at greatest risk.

Persistence of all sprays is short making beetle control on these slow moving crops difficult. In many areas pyrethroids are no longer effective but note the new HGCA guidance on pollen beetle control. “Non pyrethroid” options include (thiacloprid e.g. Biscaya, pymetrozine e.g. Plenum and indoxacarb e.g. Rumo). Check individual labels for the latest timing of applications. 

Most beet crops were drilled in early April; the majority of these crops are expected to emerge during the next week.  Slug populations remain high and heavy land growers are urged to be vigilant.  Crops will be most susceptible from chitting to expanded cotyledon (one munch and the plant is lost!). Following rain and warmer weather growth of crops and weeds are likely to be fast and tender.

Beans should be monitored for leaf notching by adult pea and bean weevils. Slow growing spring crops are at greatest risk.