T1’s are going on this week, on most barleys and the more forward wheat crops. The majority of wheat crops are due this weekend, so a hectic Easter awaits. We need some nice weather and improving soil conditions – there are still some sloshy tramlines and they’re getting deeper with every pass.

Quite a bit of heavy land missed the T-zero because of wet field conditions and so applications have been urgently ‘upgraded’ to become T1. We’ve bypassed the cheap fungicide and swapped it for something that’s five-times the price. If your crops fall into this camp, don’t wait for perfect timing – just get the disease control on now, as soon as field conditions and weather allow. Then catch up with growth regulators & herbicides in another week, once the disease control is sorted.

Disease levels in wheat are on the brink; in the next week we may see septoria leaf blotch on the newer leaves and it seems inevitable that eyespot will also continue to develop and could become severe. So pretty-looking crops may soon be lousy – hence the need to get on now with powerful disease control. Also plan ahead to maintain the protection in three weeks time when T2 will be due, otherwise your expensive T1 will be a waste. Its not just one or two individual sprays that work; its getting your whole programme and timings right that’s critical to performance. First choice has to be prothioconazole/SDHI mixes.  Don’t skimp – effective control is achieved at 80% dose rate. Avoid B-list fungicides, which will fail to do the job.

Most crops are surprisingly lacking tillers and nitrogen has run out quickly – telling you that you need to push crops hard and plan to make extra applications for maximum response. Therefore, you also need a clear policy on growth regulators to make sure that it all stands until harvest.

Oilseed rape is on full flower and so sclerotinia control will be pressing this Easter; the chocolates will have to wait.