Phew, what a blast. After three weeks rain in excess of 100mm, the ground is saturated and the drains are running full-bore. All we needed was 20 mm and that would have sorted it out. We’ve never been seriously short of moisture in the north west and certainly aren’t now. Next, can we have some sunshine and warmth please?
T1 applications are virtually complete on all cereals and weed control has been excellent, including where this was combined with fungicides. Disease is under control so far, mainly targeting septoria, but intervals cannot be allowed to slip much beyond three weeks in these conditions. Timing is almost as important as products and rates – you cannot compensate for going late by whacking more on, it doesn’t work.
We pushed on with nitrogen in early April thinking it was going to be needed if it stayed dry. Time will tell whether much has been washed away and if we need a top-up later in May.
For now, though, the challenge is to keep everything upright with so much lush growth about. Wheat will be due its final dose of nitrogen mid-month but I’d like to see the last lot fully spent before we go again. With the high lodging risk and shortage of effective growth regulators, it will be tricky getting it right.
If in doubt, delay final nitrogen until after mid-May or even to the end of the month. Most crops will require another 80 – 100 kg/N/ha to get them to where they need to be, but only once we have them in harness with a growth regulator – otherwise they’ll all be flat.
Oilseed rape has had its first sclerotinia control now, mostly with prothioconazole. High-risk crops justify another treatment at the end of flowering, using more of the same and most will also receive bee-friendly insecticides to sort out the seed weevil.