Crops generally look well although growth stages are typically 10-12 days behind due to the steady start to spring. As soon as temperatures rise then all crops should speed their way through their growth stages.
The earliest wheat crops are now at the T0 timing with the bulk scheduled for mid-April. Rust-susceptible varieties are receiving a triazole fungicide mixed with some growth regulator, but with septoria tritici levels being relatively high chlorothalonil is being applied on the earlier crops.
Various bromes have only just begun to start growing and will be controlled with sulphonylurea herbicides such as Broadway Star. Spring-germinating wild oats are just appearing and will be controlled a little later on as more are expected to emerge over the next few weeks.
Crops of winter barley look well and are shortly due to receive their T1 fungicide. With barley price prospects about as promising as Hull City staying in the Premier League it may be tempting to cut back fungicide rates.
However, the T1 timing in barley is where the highest yield responses occur to fungicides so it could be false economy to trim rates back too far.
Net blotch is the main disease present with low levels of mildew, brown rust and rhynchosporium. With no Fandango available at the moment the gap will be filled with prothioconazole mixed with a strobilurin. The new fungicide Bontima (isopyrazam) has gained approval just in the nick of time and looks a good alternative. With lean malting premiums available many traditional malting barley growers are applying more nitrogen to go for extra yield and altering the timing of their final nitrogen dose.
Oilseed rape is starting to grow quickly now with thicker and more forward crops receiving a fungicide such as tebuconazole or metconazole which can provide a form of growth regulation. Light leaf spot levels are also on the increase which influences product choice at this timing. Final nitrogen doses are being applied before the crop canopy becomes too tall to apply solid fertiliser evenly.
Spring crops are emerging well, albeit slowly, due to the low soil temperatures for the time of year. Potato planting has barely begun apart from an odd field on sand land.