Farmers Weekly Interactive

North: Game over?

By this stage, it’s all over, bar the shouting.  I haven’t heard any raised voices yet, probably because there’s so much holding of breath. So far, only a few small patches of barley and oats have lodged, and no wheat.  But repeated doses of rain and wind will inevitably test crops. Growth regulators have done their stuff so far – lets hope they continue to.  We were certainly right to panic and throw all the growth regulators we could get at crops.

 

In wheats, disease control has been exceptional despite the atrocious weather, which is attributable to hefty doses of the right fungicides applied at close intervals.  To date, I haven’t seen any Septoria tritici on leaf 1 or 2 in any crop and just small amounts on leaf 3. 

Gratifyingly, many crops are green right to the floor. Top marks to all growers who made the effort to get sprayed-up on time at T1 and T2.  What worries me now is just how much eyespot is developing and what effect further very wet weather will have.

Did we apply more nitrogen in early June after it got washed away?  Yes, but only in a small number of crops where it was obvious that they were short.  Most crops appeared well enough supplied with N, so were left alone.  By now, however, it must be said that any residue of N that was left has been washed away.  The prospects for grain protein are poor – so there may be some foliar N doses now on milling crops.

Oilseed rape crops are lodging but mostly where they were overly thick or on tall varieties with very large canopies.  Its not clear what the risk of damage is – the bigger concern now is to see how much Sclerotinia develops.  I haven’t seen any so far.

 

Spring cereals all now have heads out and final disease treatment will go on if it’s dry enough to travel.  In maize weed control is proving tricky to complete and many crops are backward.  Too much has patchy establishment due to poor soil conditions, wet-dry-wet and cold nights.  It’s inevitably going to be another poor maize year. Tropical crops don’t like the cold.

Paul Sweeney

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