Farmers Weekly Interactive

East: Rain at last

At last the rain has arrived, 20mm in the last 10 days. Wheat crops are between growth stage 47 (flag leaf sheath opening) and growth stage 69 (flowering complete). 

My thoughts are focused on the HGCA guide, guidelines to minimise risk the of fusarium mycotoxins in cereals.  Each field will need to assessed individually, depending on the variety, weather, growth stage and the timing of the last fungicide. 

If a treatment is required then I will base it on prothioconazole, metconazole or tebuconazole. Depending on previous treatments and crop potential a strobe may be included.  I feel we also need to keep a close eye on mildew levels, after the rain one week ago levels of mildew on stressed crops have increased rapidly.

With the recent rains, the risk of damage from orange wheat blossom midge on susceptible varieties will increase. But treatments will only be made if thresholds are reached.

Most winter and spring bean crops have now been treated with a fungicide if downy mildew has been seen.  Bruchid beetle sprays will be applied if adult beetles can be found in the crop and temperatures are above 20 degrees centigrade for two consecutive days, a further treatment will be applied 7-10 days later.

Sugar beet herbicides are nearing completion, with final broad-leaved treatments being applied this week.  The weeds have been challenging this year, but determination and a tight spray program has proved rewarding.  As I write this I am awaiting tissue analysis results to fine-tune my trace element programmes that will commence this week.

Over the next few weeks cereal crops that received an insufficient weed control program due to the severe drought and stress will need careful monitoring and plans put in place for pre-harvest desiccation. The products and rates used will depend on the weed species and the end market of the crop.  The planned approach will ease harvesting, particularly if harvest weather is less than favourable.

Philip Vickers

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