An exceptionally dry March along with some cool temperatures has limited crop growth. At least the dry conditions have allowed a large area of cereals to have been rolled where frost lift occurred.

Winter wheat crops are now at, or close to, the T0 timing.  Yellow rust is evident in susceptible varieties such as Oakley so the inclusion of a triazole at T0 is a must. Crops are generally quite open due to lack of tillering so ear counts could be on the lower side of the optimum at harvest. 

This is reducing the need for as much plant growth regulator at the T0 timing, but extra spend may be necessary to combat spring emerging weeds such as charlock, knotgrass and bindweed due to lack of crop competition.

Oilseed rape is now at the green to yellow bud stage. Pollen beetle levels are generally showing two to eight beetles per plant which is below threshold levels. 

Insecticides have been applied to some fields where infestation levels were much higher and to some backward crops where the threshold drops to five beetles per plant. 

Winter barley crops are now at growth stage 30 with some early sites at GS31.  They will soon need the T1 fungicide which is normally the most responsive timing in barley. 

Despite the prolonged dry weather there are still obvious levels of net blotch and rhynchosporium in susceptible varieties, with some brown rust creeping in as well.  The T1 fungicide is largely being based around prothioconazole, whether that be mixed with a strobilurin or the new SDHI chemistry. 

Herbicides to control any broad-leaved weeds such as cleavers are being included with the fungicide at this T1 timing.

Winter beans are finally beginning to recover from the effects of winter, but are being further checked by pea and bean weevil damage.  Although the damage from the adults on the leaf can be sustained, it is the subsequent larval damage on the roots where yield losses will occur most. 

Emerging spring beans and peas are also susceptible, so treat with an insecticide if required.  There is some concern over how well pre-emergence herbicides will perform on spring pulses with seed-beds so dry, and with limited post-emergence broad-leaved weed options in beans, it could mean picture-postcard looking crops will be rare this year.