Finally the weather has settled down allowing crops to get going. March certainly went out like a lion this year with heavy rain and snow causing soil slumping and capping on some heavier spring barley seedbeds. Potato planting is in full swing and spring barley has finally been drilled on the later sites.

Oilseed rape crops are growing fast and by now should have recieved a light leaf spot fungicide. Final nitrogen should be applied soon and then thoughts will turn towards planning the mid flower fungicide to protect against sclerotinia. With so much of the acerage on a four or five year rotation it’s seldom wise to miss out this spray. Keep an eye out for poor growing areas and check the roots for club root. Early assessment is vital in order to reduce future losses – there are more tolerant varieties coming along.

Forward winter barley is approaching T1. Disease levels are generally low but remember this is the most important spray timing in barley so don’t reduce rates too low. Product choice should be Proline based, and I’ll be trying Bontima (isopyrazam) on some crops too. Barley will soon move very rapidly so don’t forget trace elements where appropriate.

In the earlier parts wheat is moving into stem extension. Some
growers will consider missing the T0 spray and bringing the T1 timing
forward to GS 31. This will work where application will be made during
the early twenties of April and robust triazole rates are used. On later
sites a T0 will be a safer more appropriate approach. I’ll be using
Cherokee along with a growth regulator to improve tillering and rooting.
We can then delay T1 until final leaf 3 appears which is likely to be
during the first week of May.

It’s not too late to take action against brome or blackgrass in
wheat. Where you have a problem get advice and take measures to bring it
under control before it gets out of hand. Cleavers are also freshening
up, so get out and check your crops!