At long last after frosts and hail showers (yes I was scraping frost off car and standing in white tramlines) some decent moisture and heat has arrived with a couple of 10-20mm spells of rain accompanied by some heat this should at last see our crops start to freshen up and put down some sensible growth.
Despite lack of mositure and heat crops have been going through the growth stages as this is dictated by day length and most winter wheat now has final leaf 2 emerged and flag leaf can be found easily so would anticipate flag leaf fully emerged in next 10-14 days so some spray intervals between T1 and T2 will be short but I would urge growers not to make their decision based on when flag leaf is fully emerged and not the time since last spray as this leaf contributes a massive amount to yield and when emerged is unprotected. Product choice will depend on variety and disease pressure but will need to be a 3/4 doze of Triazole and Chlorothalonil with probably the inclusion of a strobilurin for rust and greening effect also any growth regulation needs to be completed at this time but as a lot of growers in this area have a value on straw dont think it will be widespread.
Winter barley has been through all sorts of trials and tribulations this season but again despite not a lot of height is starting to come into awn emergence now so we will be looking to apply our final spray to this crop there appears to be low levels of Rynchosporium around so product choice will be based on Prothioconazole and Strobilurin with addition of Chlorothalonil for Ramularia protection mainly to try and prevent disease build up for spring crop. Although this crop is not the most popular in some areas it is essential to us not only for the market available but also gives a spread on harvest, straw for livestock and an excellent entry for Oilseed rape.
Which brings me on to Oilseed rape the big question this season has been should i put a Sclerotinia spray on this season or not and we have had various prediction/decision based tools out there to help but in the end this is an insuramce spray and just about all our rapes have had or are about to get a flower spray and if a high risk period continues then some will even get a second application. Rape in this area is looking superb and every bit of yield is worth protecting.
Spring barley has welcomed the recent rainfall and is moving on rapidly we now have a flush of weeds so herbicides can be applied to get target and hopefully not stress crop. Disease management will depend on variety but will be based around Triazole/Strobilurin low dose and mildew will be addressed in susceptible varieties.
Spring Beans are coping with Pea and Bean Weevil attacks and as they move to flower bud stage we will consider the disease control options in this crop. Finally a crop that is forgotten about on farm but essential in this area is grassland and with recent rainfall and warmth it is an ideal opportunity to control perennial weeds.
Hopefully as crops now come out of winter I did not think I would say that in May we will see some sensible growth.