Winter cereals on medium to heavy land have held up well during a very dry May. However, crops on lighter land have begun to suffer from drought with all spring crops ready for some rain.

In winter wheat the weather has allowed T2 fungicides to be applied at the correct time.  It must be a good few years since the weather has allowed all T0, T1 and T2 fungicides to be all applied as planned.  As a result, crops are very clean, but yellow rust has established in Oakley where there has been a spray miss e.g. near a telegraph pole, showing the effectiveness of the fungicides.  Watch out for some mildew creeping in on late sown crops suffering from drought stress.

Monitoring for orange blossom midge needs to start as soon as the ears begin to emerge on susceptible wheat varieties. Now is the time to put out the pheromone traps which can give good guidance on midge appearance in crops.  Otherwise check crops on warm and still evenings to assess midge numbers. The threshold is one midge per three ears on feed wheat and one midge per six ears on milling and seed varieties.  Assuming an ear population of 600/m2 then this means around 200 midge/m2 on feed wheat or 100 midge/m2 on seed/milling wheat – quite a lot before you need to treat with an insecticide such as chlorpyrifos.

Spring beans will soon begin flowering and with downey mildew levels currently relatively low it means savings can be made on fungicide costs.  Winter beans are well into flowering and setting pods and a final fungicide will be required soon to keep chocolate spot under control and protect the crop against rust.

Early planted crops of maize took a serious hammering from the severe mid May frosts.  As a result post-em herbicides have been delayed to allow the crop to recover. Thankfully some warmer weather since has seen the maize improve but it means prompt herbicide applications soon to control weeds before they become competitive.