The weather unfortunately dominates our thoughts. I am commonly asked what I think yields will be as there are some concerns in respect to meeting forward sold tonnages.
Winter oilseed rape crops generally still look promising. There is some pod midge damage, but on the whole, levels are not too bad and they tend to be worse on headlands. Fortunately many wheat crops are flowering, so we are through the risk period for orange wheat blossom midge.
Whether or not to apply a T3 fungicide has prompted much debate on farm. Whilst it is appreciated that the yield response from a T3 may be limited this season, it is important to protect quality on milling and seed crops. So these quality crops will receive a T3, but there may be some scope to reduce the dose slightly.
Spring barley’s are the crop that has suffered the most in the dry spring. They are down on ear numbers and are very short. Given the value of the crop a period of unsettled weather will mean a T2 fungicide will be necessary.
Broad-leaved weed control has been challenging this spring, with the dry conditions making weeds very ‘tough’. Given that many crops are open a wet spell could see further weed emergence. Pre-harvest glyphosate may be especially useful this year.
The fertiliser market seems to kick off ever earlier in the spring – we have only just finished fertilising this year’s crops. Whilst this is frustrating, no matter how much we moan we will not delay the market. Having a long term rotation/cropping plan in place allows us to calculate our requirements, and begrudgingly react if deemed appropriate.
The marketers are also prompting discussions regarding varieties for next season. Gone are the days when we could see how varieties perform before ordering next years seed.