The recent rains have finally allowed crops to uptake nitrogen and they have improved dramatically.  However, many crops of wheat look better from the roadside than when actually in them.  It is certainly a season to take the “glass half full” rather than “glass half empty” approach.

A higher proportion of potato crops are requiring post-emergence contact herbicides such as rimsulfuron as lower pre-emergence residual rates were used with seedbeds being so dry.  Be sure to check the latest crop growth stages for post-emergence herbicides as crops are growing rapidly at present.

T3 fungicides on wheat will soon be applied where required based on triazoles such as prothioconazole, tebuconazole or metconazole.  A strobilurin such as pyraclastrobin will be used to boost brown and yellow rust control where required.  Milling wheats will certainly require a higher rate of triazole to protect from fusarium infection. 

Numbers of orange wheat blossom midges have been very low so far, the cool and windy conditions not favourable for midge flight, but it is important to stay vigilant until all the crop has flowered.

Spring barley resembles it’s winter counterpart by being relatively thin and open.  As awns are emerging now is the time to consider T2 fungicides which will merely provide a top up to protect recent crop growth.  Winter beans are at the mid to late flowering stage and will soon be requiring another fungicide to protect mainly against rust.

It is great to see such a high number of ladybirds present in all crops.  Hopefully they will be able to keep aphid numbers low enough so as not to require the use of insecticides, but where they are needed then a selective product will be used to give natural predators the best chance of survival.

Planning for 2012 cropping and varieties is well underway with discussions about “what’s new” in terms of varieties.  The recent nitrogen price announcements have generally been greeted with a cough and a splutter to say the least.  However, with nitrogen being such a responsive input and crop prices firm for 2012 harvest then total crop nitrogen rates will not need much adjustment if any at all.