At last it has stopped raining and with the drying wind from the north there has been frantic activity on farms. The light land is being cultivated in readiness for spring crop drilling.

 

The majority of the spring bean crop is now drilled and should be sprayed with a pre-emergent herbicide as soon as possible after rolling as there are no post-emergent herbicides available for broadleaved weed control. Where the land is ready for spring barley drilling, then carefully work out the seed rate based on the 1000 grain weight. On light land it would be appropriate to increase the seed rate to 365 seeds/sq m, but do not drill into forced seed-beds as it is better to drill a few days late rather than into wet ground.

 

Winter wheat and winter barley crops seem to be in excellent shape, albeit there are some thin areas where slugs were active in the late autumn. Both winter wheat and winter barley are at growth stage 24-26 and ready to receive the first dose of nitrogen fertiliser with sulphur. The autumn residuals have performed well, but the usual culprits, cleavers and blackgrass have come through these treatments.

The temperatures have started to rise this week and once it reaches 6-8C and active growth has started, then it would be time to consider applications of Atlantis (iodosulfuron + mesosulfuron) in wheat and Axial (pinoxaden) in barley. 

 

It is imperative to apply the grass weed herbicides as early as possible in order to achieve good control. If large cleavers are present then spray with Eagle (amidosulfuron) or Chekker (amidosulfuron + iodosulfuron) for a broader weed spectrum. But in many instances only seedling cleavers are present. In this case, wait until the majority of cleavers have emerged and then spray with Starane Vantage (florasulam + fluroxypyr) towards the end of March.

 

Septoria tritici in wheat and rhynchosporium in barley is apparent on the lower leaves.

The oilseed rape crop is at the 6-8 leaf stage and should now make rapid growth as the day length is extending and also the first split of nitrogen fertiliser has been applied. There is some light leaf spot starting to appear in some crops. Where broadleaved weeds are present, treatments should be carried out soon before flower buds become visible to avoid crop damage.