Variation in oilseed rape growth area indexes is massive this spring. The cold winter has taken its toll and many crops look pale and backward. All crops have now received their first nitrogen dressing, but as soil temperatures struggle to 6-7C, response to this nutrient has been slow.
Levels of phoma are very variety dependant, with DK Cabernet and Osprey looking cleaner than others. Opportunities for controlling thistles, mayweed and cleavers will soon be over when rape starts responding to the warmer weather and stem extension begins – pigeons remain the bane of oilseed rape growers lives.
Spring beans are a popular spring break crop in the South-East, with Fuego remaining the most popular variety. Drilling is now in full swing and a pre-emergence spray with linuron, clomazone, imazamox and pendimethalin is a popular tank mix. Seed-beds are also good.
Barley disease levels are low with rhynchosporium and net blotch difficult to find. Fandango has been a very effective and popular fungicide choice at T1, but with product unavailable until later in the spring an alternative needs to be found. Matching fungicide performance to disease will be important.
Wheat crops have survived the harsh, long winter, but growth has been slow. Disease levels are low for rusts and mildew, but septoria seems to be the biggest threat at the moment.
Herbicides are still waiting to be applied as although soils are drier, they are still cold. Sulfonylurea performance will be impeded until soils warm up. The first plant growth regulators and fungicides are planned next week which is 10 days later than recent seasons.