Growers should be grasping insecticide, herbicide and fungicide spraying opportunities over the next few weeks to prevent product clashes, according to our Crop Watch agronomists.

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In Suffolk, wheat bulb fly was causing crop dead-heart symptoms and needed to be treated quickly, said Frontier agronomist Brian Ross. “Firstly, the crops they are in are not well tillered, so killing the larvae before they move from tiller to tiller is vital.

“Secondly, the sequencing of Atlantis (iodosulfuron + mesosulfuron) or Broadway Star (florasulam + pyroxsulam) requires a two-week to four-week gap and there are many fields that require attention for blackgrass and other grassweeds earlier rather than later.”

ProCam agronomist Nick Brown from Buckinghamshire said T0 and growth regulator applications were likely to go on in the third week of March, but he hoped growers would complete Atlantis (iodosulfuron + mesosulfuron) applications before then to simplify tank mixes and maintain maximum efficacy.

In his area, winter bean crops had been slow to emerge due to cold conditions in December. “Thankfully, it was relatively dry so little seed has rotted and as temperatures have improved they are slowly moving. Despite the slow start, plant populations seem good.”

First wheat crops looked good, but crops drilled early following oilseed rape were too advanced, he said. “They are showing higher-than-average soil nitrogen reserves. These will not need an early split of nitrogen at all and savings in total dose should be possible.”

Further north, a number of winter oat crops had been killed off by the winter chill and growers were looking for alternative break crops, said AICC agronomist Patrick Stephenson. “At present, no spring barley has been drilled as wet weather in February has prevented land work.”

Oilseed rape crops looked well, despite large pigeon flocks grazing some fields, and they were ready for the first top dressing of nitrogen and sulphur, he said.

In Shropshire, September-sown wheat crops looked well, but septoria lesions were visible in some crops, said AICC agronomist Bryce Rham. Early-sown Humber had significant mildew levels and might need a T0 mildewicide, he added.

Winter barley was starting to lose colour and he was hoping to apply nitrogen and sulphur products this week. “Some rhynchosporium and net blotch is visible, but not at the point of treating, apart from one crop of Maris Otter which I am hoping to get an application of cyprodinil on over the next 10 days. This will also have a good effect on mildew that is present.”

No spring barley had been planted in his area, but his clients were hoping to start this week or next week. “I would rather see it going into soils that are warming up with a good spell of weather following drilling to allow it to get a good start and not sit for several weeks losing vigour.”





• In this week’s video clip Patrick Stephenson assesses blackgrass control in wheat.