Once again the weather seems to have the upper hand.  Over the last month as a result of frost, wind or rain, spraying opportunities have been virtually nonexistent. Atlantis applications are a priority as blackgrass is now growing rapidly and good application technique is essential to maximise product efficacy.

As a result of the increasing popularity of non-inversion tillage, and dry autumn conditions reducing the effectiveness of stale seed-beds, brome appears to be an increasing problem.  In some situations serious thought needs to be given to rotations, particularly the inclusion of spring cropping, as well as strategic use of the plough.

Winter barley T1 applications have begun as crops reach GS 30-31, and are based on prothioconazole + a strobilurin.  Avoid being late with the T1, as this is the most important fungicide treatment in winter barley.

Wheat crops are being monitored closely for yellow rust, but as yet no problems to report.  T0 applications have just begun in forward wheats, but in many crops next week (w/c 12th April) will be the ideal timing.  Treatments are based on chlotothalonil with or without a triazole.

As required a herbicide is being included with the T0 to tidy up overwintered and spring germinating broad-leaved weeds.

Winter rape crops are growing and developing ‘slowly but surely’.  In many crops a fungicide with PGR activity is planned for the green/yellow bud stage.  This will also be the start of the sclerotinia control program.

Crops should be monitored for pollen beetle up until they start to flower.  Treatment should only be applied if thresholds are met, i.e. 15 pollen beetle/plant in good crops, or 5 per plant in thin, backward crops.

Winter beans look rather weather beaten, and there are now some signs of pea and bean weevil activity.  Crops will be treated as soon as conditions and workload allow with an insecticide.

Spring linseed drilling will commence as soon as soils dry and warms up.  There are a few more options for broad-leafed weed control in linseed this season.  They are however based on SOLA’s, which is a frustration as the grower caries all the risk.