21 December 2001

Manganese for spring cereals

CONSIDER using a manganese seed treatment on spring cereals to counter a growing deficiency problem, says Dalgety Arable.

Of 461 winter wheat and 299 oilseed rape tissue tests taken across the country 34% show a shortage, says northern region agrochemical manager David Booty. That should serve as a warning to spring cereal growers.

"We are seeing an increasing frequency of deficiency year on year. If land has a history of manganese deficiency you will see it this year and we may see shortages on land not normally prone to problems."

At £40/t of seed treated and 350 seeds/sq m, a seed treatment costs about £6.40/ha (£2.60/acre) and protects the plant from early deficiency problems.

Solid manganese sulphate spray formulations are about half the price, but can cause scorch and need a reasonable sized plant for uptake, as do the more expensive but safer liquid manganese sulphate spray formulations, he says.

&#8226 Winter crops already showing manganese deficiency symptoms are at risk of increased frost kill and should be treated with a foliar application as soon as possible.

In wheat, it is worth checking that the crop is not short of copper too, says Mr Booty. "It often goes hand in hand with manganese." &#42