You’veprobably heard the phrase “planning prevents poor performance” or somethingsimilar!  Nitrogen planning should becomplete and in accordance with NVZ regulations N max calculations anddemonstration of compliance should be documented before any field applicationsare made.  Fungicide prices are beginningto firm and prudent growers will have considered programmes based on price andproducts that provide the chosen actives at best value.

The weathermanpromises warmer conditions at the beginning of March.   As soon as it starts to warm up rapeseedcrops will be ready for their first nitrogen application (usually includingsulphur). Followed by first dressings on barley, second, subsequent, later andthen earlier drilled wheats. So have the spreader poised for action.

As usual thereis a large peak of spring work ahead especially for those growing sugar beetand drilling other spring crops. Wrap up warm and use these last few days ofwinter to monitor your crops. In particularly we should be considering fieldsto receive Atlantis (mesosulfuron + iodosulfuron) or similar and in rapseed decidingwhich fields should receive a clopyralid based spray e.g. Galera for sowthistle control and cleaver suppression.

On rust proneand moderately septoria susceptible varieties T0 applications are important.  A mix of cheaper triazoles plus or minuschlorothalonil (as appropriate) will reduce the risk of early infection. Protectionis cheaper than eradication and T0’s allow flexibility around the T1 fungicidetiming if required due to farm scale, equipment or inclement weather. 

Concernregarding an early spring rust epidemic has moved from red alert to a spring amberalert. The risk of early infection has been reduced by the persistent coldweather but do not be complacent, only a small amount of inoculum is requiredfor a spring infection.  Do not leavesusceptible crops unprotected once the weather warms up.

The coldwinter has held back crop growth; however, wheat, rape and bean crops lookstrong entering the spring.  Generallycrops throughout East Anglia look promising with good yield potential.