Farmers Weekly Interactive

North: Field work has ground to a halt

I guess I was tempting providence last month by requesting a small quantity of rain! Most areas on the eastern side of Scotland have had more rain in April than the total for December to March. Some places have had hail and snow too. No brownie points there.

 

Spring barleys, even those in cloddy seedbeds, have germinated and are through the ground. Opportunities for early weed control may be limited in the near future. With the continuing acreage of Optic for malting, mildew will be an ever present threat. The inclusion of a morpholine plus a protectant for combined disease control will be necessary along with the herbicide.

 

The wet weather will increase the risk of sclerotinia in oilseed rape. In this high risk scenario, a two spray programme at early and late flowering may have to be the order of the day. Boscalid, prothioconazole and a strobiluron should all feature in the plan. The pollen beetle threat has fizzled out with reappearance of wintry weather.

Despite the summer-like weather in March, winter cereals are at their usual growth stages for this time of year; barleys at GS 31/32 and wheats at GS 30. Winter barleys are due for their T1 spray.

 

Mildew and rhyncosporium are the main threats. A Scottish government-funded risk prediction model developed by SAC suggests that ramularia is likely to be an issue this season. Plans for a robust T2 spray should take this into account with SDHI chemistry justifying the price premium.

 

Any winter wheat not sprayed at T0 will be under pressure from septoria. Mildew is also a feature. In this situation do not be tempted to reduce fungicide rates at T1. An effective rate of triazole plus chlorothalonil should cope.

If eyespot is an issue then boscalid or prothioconazole will have to be introduced. A strobiluron may have to be added in a high risk yellow rust situation.

Hamish Coutts

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