Farmers Weekly Interactive

West: Redundant row-crops and worn-out waterproofs

I am now well beyond any point ofever having wished for rain. In the last month we have probably had 3-4 inches.Drains have been running that have not done so for 18 months and the RiverSevern and various tributaries flooded wheat and barley (although I appreciatethis is not as severe as the spuds that were submerged).

 

My waterproofs have seen more usethan in the last 18 months and I’m thoroughly fed up with getting wet every dayfor what seems like months. I do not think moisture will be

the limiting factor this year!

 

As well as being wet it has alsobeen the coldest spell of April/early May weather that I can remember, withmany crops almost stopping in their trackswhich has caused headaches in terms of T1/T2 intervals, let alone getting T1applications done.

 

The weather has finally calmed downwith not too much rain last week and temperatures reaching close to 20C now(I can finally turn the heating off!).

 

Just to complete this joyous season,it seems as though stocks of virtually every chemical are running out. Beforelong we will have to put plans in place for every single product that we use.



In winter barley, last week saw the interval betweenT1 and T2 hit five weeks. I gave up waiting for the awns to appear and got mostclients to apply T2 sprays. The crops were/are still very green and I waspleased that we used SDHI chemistry at T1 giving me some comfort with the extendedinterval. Those that required terpal (where available), were done two weeksbefore this (or in with the T2 fungicide).

 

Most barleys look well, apart fromrhizoctonia problem areas,  and I’mhoping for good yields.



The oilseed rape is still flowering. It hasbeen for some six weeks or so and still it shows no real signs of stopping.

 

Some will have to have a second sclerotiniaspray which will be a first for me. A portion of crops are now four weeks sincethe first pass so we’ll be starting in the next few days with these.

 

The balance of the rape is notgoing to hit four weeks until sometime next week, so we will have to see whatthe flowering situation is like then, by which time there will probably be noproduct left and the decision will be made for us.

 

The weather has played havoc withexposed crops, which have been battered by heavy rain and high winds. Regardlessof variety, growth regulator or nitrogen rates, they have lodged at the base dueto the soil being so wet that the stems have lost all anchorage and have just fallen over. They are bendingupwards towards the light but I’m not sure what the long term impact will be.

 

Well of course, it did not stopraining until at least T2 has been completed so clients battled on. Rowcrops were put to the back of the shed and the tramlines were very wet, so woebetide anyone falling off them.

 

The final T1 applications werecompleted ten days ago where leaf two was making its appearance and leaf threehad probably been emerging for three weeks before this.

 

Crops that were sprayed on timethen decided that putting new leaves out was not a good idea so came to agrinding halt, leaving us no option but to delay T2 application until fourweeks after T1. Once again I am glad we are using SDHI chemistry at T2 and Iwish we had used more at T1 knowing what I know now. (Hindsight will no doubtbe rammed down

our throats by the experts duringthe post season roundup of what we should and shouldn’t have done).

 

T2 applications started last Mondaywith flag leaves emerging, and the bulk will be done this week. At the momentthe crops that have been sprayed on time are looking clean but I’m not

looking forward to T3 walking, as Ifear that some of the late T1 wheat may not look very clever by this stage – I’llbe happy to be proved wrong.

 

Yellow rust has yet to be an issueand suspect it will not be now. Brome control has been variable after whatlooked like a very promising start back in March.

 

We’re also starting to see cleaverre-growth which will need product to be applied in with the T2 (fluroxypyr willbe the next

thing to run out!).

 

Final split nitrogen applicationswere delayed beyond our normal timing partly by design and partly by luck. Mostof this has been applied over the last 10 days or so, which will hopefully fillgrain rather than lead to lodged crops. It also means that it will be availableto the crop rather than washing down the plug hole.

Bryce Rham

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