Crops remain slow to develop and disease is noticeableby its absence, but recent rains have spurred farmers on to applyT1 wheat fungicide sprays.

Yield potential across the acreage isn’t looking great -“average” would be my favoured expression.

Despite the best advice to use Atlantis (iodosulfuron+ mesosulfuron) last autumn, nature conspired to ensure thevast majority has been applied in the spring.

Walking sprayed fields now shows some variable performance, but,on the whole, weed control remains good. However, open canopies areencouraging fathen, cleavers and knotgrass revivals, soover-spraying looks like it will be required on some fields.

In the good tradition of pantomime, we’re starting the chant of”Fungicides are running short”. But, given the multitude of genericproducts in the market place this year, I would be flabbergasted ifwe did end up short. No doubt supplies of prothioconazole will betight; but there must be a sea of Fandango(prothioconazole + fluoxastrobin) somewhere.

Winter barley crops have awns emerging, and the painful decisionover whether to apply a second growth regulator looms. Bitterexperience tells me that if in doubt spray.

Spring barley is gathering together and will be due a T1 sprayshortly. Driving around and seeing thousands of acres drilled tothe crop makes me very concerned about where it will all go andwhen.

I don’t think I can remember a better potato planting time, andwith crops going into ideal conditions, a good start is almostassured. What this will mean for end-product prices we shall haveto wait and see.

With the long-range forecast pointing to a drier and warmersummer than the past two, I think it may be time to cast off myvest.