Winter wheat crops are quite variable in growth stage, from final leaf 3 emerged through to flag leaf tip just showing. Most T1 fungicides were applied in good time in early May to protect final leaf 3 and an interval of 3-4 weeks will be left for T2 applications once the flag leaf has emerged.

Septoria is now quite evident in some varieties on the older leaves, with yellow rust also being a concern in certain varieties. Well-timed T1 fungicides will have provided good protection, but warm and wet weather will maintain disease pressure. Where the interval to T2 may be stretched, then a holding spray of chlorothalonil or triazole will maintain disease protection.

Aphids have been found to varying degrees and where found in high numbers, an insecticide has been applied to prevent feeding damage and multiplication. As the soils have warmed up, we are now seeing flushes of broad-leaved weeds and wild oats, which will need to be addressed at T2. Leaf tissue results have generally indicated low levels of magnesium, zinc, boron and potassium in cereals and this will be addressed as required.

Winter oilseed rape is again very variable, but most crops will have now received a mid-flowering fungicide, with the warm weather encouraging sclerotia germination as indicated by the Adas/BASF bulletins. Some pest damaged crops are only really just coming into flower and these will be treated at first petal fall. Crops should also be monitored for seed weevil during warm and bright days, with the threshold being 1 weevil per plant.

Winter beans have been the standout crop so far, with good establishment resulting in good ground cover and low weed populations. The recent warm weather has brought them into flower, with fungicides being applied early – mid flower as a protectant. Trace elements are also to be applied, with sulphur being one element that beans require, but leaf tissue tests suggest it is low. Once the first pods begin to develop then we will also be vigilant of bruchid beetle activity following two consecutive days of 20C which is when the beans are at highest risk.

Spring beans and peas are emerging well, with weevil activity increasing following the warm weather. Insecticides have been applied where required and crops monitored for control and fresh grazing. It will be interesting to see what resistance results are found this spring.

Spring barley is coming through well in most cases, despite the variety of drilling methods used. The main problem is slugs, especially on the direct drilled land. Despite the dry weather, slugs have still been active just below the surface on the wet soil. Broad-leaved weeds and wild oats are coming through and in many cases these will be dealt with along with the first fungicide at the end of tillering.