Since I wrote my last Cropwatch on 12 April, it hasn’t actually stopped raining. If I refer back to my February Crop Watch I wrote: “We have had much less than average rainfall in the south……. my worry is that nature has an uncanny way of balancing itself out. We could be in for a very wet spring this year”.

 

A certain amount of “I told you” springs to mind. Having said that, I needn’t have worried. The crops, winter and spring, look fantastic, and as a result of high early doses of fungicides the wet weather diseases seem to be held at bay for the moment. It has absolutely amazed me how well the fields have travelled after the rain. I’m guessing this is because the structures are in good shape and the rain has fallen onto well-cracked soils.

 

The risk this year is that the gaps between fungicide applications will be stretched beyond their 3-4 week optimum (depending on the rates and products used). If this does happen an addition of triazole to top up the outstanding recommendations might be worthwhile.

 The growers who snatch opportunistic moments in the catchy weather will be the winners this year. I take my hat off to most operators I’m involved with who seem to have taken this on board and will rush out at a moment’s notice if the opportunity arrives.

 

 

Spring beans and peas look fantastic, pre-emergence herbicides have worked well and even the weevil has got fed up with the rain. Linseed and spring rape is beginning to grow away after Global Warming nearly froze it to death and again, the rain has reduced flea beetle activity to a minimum. We’ve had a proper spring, which might mean we’re in for a proper summer. Ever the optimist………