The cold weather has continued to play its part in the way the season is unfolding.Wheat and Barley crops have continued to push through their growth stages but without putting on large amounts of biomass. At the time of writing we now find ourselves with the weather warming and the amount of rain increasing. This can only increase the disease pressure, particularly for Septoria and also Sclerotinia in the Rape crop.

Many wheat crops are now somewhere between GS37 and GS39. The dilemma facing most growers is when to apply the T2 fungicide, given that many of these crops have not seen a 3 week interval since the T1 application. With the weather now favourable to the development of Septoria I will be urging growers NOT to delay their T2 but to apply at the correct growth stage rather than worry about the interval from the previous application. The T2 application will be formed around a good dose of either Epoxyconazole or Prothioconazole with Chlorothalonil and a small amount of a Strobe. The inclusion of a Strobe at this timing always seems to pay dividends in ensuring that quality parameters are met and that the crop achieves a marketable specification. With our particularly high Septoria pressure in the southwest I have found this combination of products provides a better result than using Boscalid at this timing.

Final nitrogen applications are taking place to the wheat crop as I write. I am hoping that this will finally cover up the striping caused by the application of Nitrogen/Sulphur products earlier in the season. The application of these N/S fertilisers seems to be causing a striping problem every year, even where growers have had their spreaders calibtated. Could it be that the spec of these products is not what it used to be. It would be interesting to know if growers in other parts of the country have had the same experience with these products.

The Rape crop has either just had its final fungicide application for Sclerotinia control or is due to receive it any day. With a return to moist warm weather, this application is hopefully timed to perfection. In general the rape crop down here is looking very promising, and the attempts at building the correct canopy appear to have worked well this year

The maize crop which is important in this part of the world is now largely planted, with the earliest drilled crops now emerging. This year has seen another increase in the acreage sown with combining the crop in mind.