I never thought I would be heard to be saying this, butI am delighted to see some rain. Hopefully, it will set these cropsaway at last.

Autumn crops on the whole have very shallow root systems andhave struggled to pick up fertiliser, but I hope they will now moveon and put down some biomass. Winter barley mostly has been treatedwith T1 sprays and we will make an assessment on disease levels andgrowth regulator requirements when flag leaf has emerged. We willbe including chlorothalonil as routine for ramularia protection, asI believe it is as important a disease as in spring barley.

Winter wheat is now approaching final leaf 3 emerged andseptoria control starts in earnest. We will be usingepoxiconazole-based products, including boscalid (as inVenture/Tracker) or some mildew protection as required withJustice. It was concerning last week to read about shift insensitivity to triazoles, so on the whole we will be using robustrates.

Weed control in autumn cereals is proving to be difficult. Whereautumn herbicides have been applied it is relatively simple, asthese have worked extremely well apart from the usual cleaver tidyup. Other crops due to open canopy and no residual are a bit moredifficult, with myriad weeds germinating. But we are having to mixherbicide combinations to match weed spectrum, usually based onHarmony (metsulfuron-methyl + thifensulfuron-methyl) with additionof CMPP or ioxynil/bromoxynil.

Spring barley is looking surprisingly well despite the dryspell, but the roots are in moisture and are building up a greatroot system, which should help fight stress as the seasonprogresses. Hopefully, recent moisture will bring out the flush ofweeds expected and we can progress with herbicide before the canopycloses over. This crop goes through growth stages really quicklyand we tend to use preventative fungicides through the plants’ lifebased on a strobilurin and cyprodinil and triazoles mixes backed upwith chlorothalonil.

As everyone I talk to is looking at cutting back rates, pleaseremember resistance issues. Markets are improving and a usefulpercentage yield increase can be achieved with fungicide.