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NIRELAND

7 May 1999

Spraying still on course…

Rain, wind and frost have

only slightly disrupted spray

programmes around the

regions, according to this

round-up of operations on

farmers weeklys barometer

farms.

Andrew Blake reports

on this page and p66

EAST

A SWITCH to air inclusion nozzles has helped Robert Salmon meet spraying schedules in a tricky spell at Hyde Hall, Dereham this spring.

The farm was up to date with first fungicides on winter wheat where the third leaf had just emerged in early crops by the end of last week.

"I am fed up with the wind. We like to get in front as we prefer not to work over the Bank Holiday. But if you miss three or four days at this time of year you can easily get behind."

The new Lurmark Drift BETA jets have proved effective in extending spraying opportunities, says visiting Morley agricultural consultant Peter Riley. "I am confident we achieved very good timings for the two chlormequat doses applied."

Apart from some mildew in the lusher late-drilled wheats after sugar beet and some Septoria in the base of crops, disease is very limited. "We dont have any rust-prone varieties," says Mr Salmon.

That means a moderate old technology treatment of 0.3-0.4litres/ha of Opus (epoxiconazole) with Bravo (chlorothalonil), along with Starane (fluroxypyr) herbicide, should suffice. "Were not applying a strobilurin at this stage. Well reserve a hefty dose for use at flag leaf when we are likely to get the most cost benefit."

Backward crops not receiving chlormequat are getting 0.5litres/ha of Terpal (ethephon) as well. "Well review whether we need to put the extra 1litre on later.

WEST

LYING in a rain shadow North Farm at Shrewsbury escaped much of the rain which restricted progress elsewhere, says Andrew Cooke. "The wind hasnt been much of a problem either." Main objective, now that all the first chlormequat growth regulator is on the wheat, is to protect leaf three which was about half-emerged at the end of last week.

"We havent used any fungicide yet because we are waiting for a reasonable target. There is now quite a lot of latent Septoria on the lower leaves and a touch of mildew. Normally we would use a half rate mix of Opus and Bravo. This year we shall try half rate Opus and Landmark – I see no real purpose in going full rate Landmark." The plan is to follow up with Amistar at flag leaf.

Last week saw the first post-emergence sugar beet spray following pre-em Starter (chloridazon). "We used Goltix and Betanal E with 30g of Debut to get rid of the volunteer rape which was getting nicely established. Its amazing how rape always seems to grow better in beet than on its own."

Across the rows tramlining permitted night-time application when the wind had eased. "I wouldnt have attempted it if Id had to go down the rows."

Main recent change of plan has been to put all the winter-flooded land into voluntary set-aside industrial oilseed rape. A big flush of weeds can always be expected on the riverside ground, and Mr Cooke hopes the vigorous hybrid Superol, backed by incorporated Treflan (trifluralin), can smother them cheaply.

MIDLANDS

TWEAKING sugar beet herbicides and cereal fungicides is the priority for Tony Wright, manager at Elms Farm, Caythorpe, Lincs.

Hail damage to sugar beet delayed the first herbicide treatment until last Thursday. "The hail really knocked the crop for six so we held off before applying 2.5litres/ha of phenmedipham with 1.25litres/ha of Goltix which is kinder than some other herbicides."

But fools parsley was expected to merit a rapid re-visit this week with Debut (triflusulfuron). "It can be a nightmare to control on the heath, but Debut has made a big difference.

"The cereals have made great strides since it turned warmer, and although our sprays have been delayed thats not disastrous.

"The main modification is that our controversial low dose fungicide programme has had to go out of the window because we missed a treatment. We are now using 0.3litres/ha of Landmark with some Opus.

"The wheats are fairly clean, but it is possible to pick out slight spots of yellow rust in the Riband, and mildew is just beginning to appear in the spring barley."

Another change will be the addition of 0.25litres/ha of Opus (epoxiconazole) to the 0.75litres/ha of Terpal (ethephon) flag leaf growth regulator to tackle rising rhynchosporium in winter barley.

"It had a GS31/32 fungicide, but its still some way off the ear emergence treatment. We are going on anyway with the Terpal, and I feel we cant wait that long especially if the weather turns showery again."

SCOTLAND

HARR, or sea fog, and frost hindered earlier progress at Balgone Farms, North Berwick. But a change to better conditions has allowed James Grant Suttie to keep abreast of spraying demands.

"It has been annoying. Crops have been wet, and there has quite often been a cold east wind which isnt good for growth and meant I couldnt spray."

With temperatures down to -4C (25F) some scorch has been inevitable – even on crops apparently unsprayed elsewhere. "It affects the forward wheats the most because there was a lot of good new growth. I hope it wont affect yields. We usually get a knock somewhere along the lines in Scotland.

"There is some Septoria about, but its not worrying because we tend to use a preventative programme." All the forward wheats have received their second 0.5litres/ha of Sportak Delta (Arable Apr 23) and the later ones should be getting it about now.

"There is some rhyncho and a small amount of mildew in the winter barley, which I treated with 0.25litres/ha of DUK 747 and 0.3litres/ha of Corbel as the best deal I could get. We never use expoxiconazole on the barley until flag leaf."

The gate has been shut on winter oilseed rape without an anti-sclerotinia spray. Despite having peas in the rotation Mr Grant Suttie finds it hard to justify a treatment, especially on a crop as thin as this years.

SOUTH

WIND has been the main problem recently at New Farm, Kings Somborne, near Stockbridge, says John Chalcraft. But with the Airtec sprayer able to treat 16ha (40 acres) at one filling, programmes were almost completed by the weekend.

That was just as well – there is potentially plenty of hidden septoria about. "We have had to alter our thoughts on some wheat fields, dropping the planned split growth regulator and going with just one dose. But they were late-drilled so its perhaps not so important."

The T1 mix on most fields included Meteor (chlormequat +choline chloride + imazaquin) with a fungicide driven by variety. "With the quality wheats we have gone for a conventional triazole with a view to using Amistar later on," says Cleanacres agronomist Tom Blanchard.

"On the feeds we have tended to go for Mantra, in both adding low rate Unix where it is a second wheat."

Rain earlier encouraged rhynchosporium in Maris Otter winter barley and Mr Chalcraft was keen to re-treat by the start of this week. "We used Bravocarb about three weeks ago, but I want to get back on again soon with a Mantra/Unix mix."

On all high risk lodging sites and on one especially stony field 0.1litres/ha of Moddus (trinexapac-ethyl) was added to boost straw strengthening. "If that one goes flat it will be a devil of a job to combine," says Mr Chalcraft.

"The spring barley looks wonderful and there isnt any disease in it so far."

S-WEST

BUBBLE jets have been a mixed blessing for Paul Dale in the strong winds at Restronguet Farm, near Falmouth.

On the one hand they have allowed him to finish most wheat treatments bar one field right beside some houses. "We have caught up with most of the fungicides at last." The downside is that the plan to tackle wild oats at the same time has had to be dropped.

"Its been a bit of a struggle and we have had to pull out the Cheetah wild oat spray out of the tank mix because I wasnt happy with the coverage we were going to get with the bubble jets," says Profarma agronomist James Stuart.

That will leave an extra 20ha (50 acres) to do with flat fans at higher volume (200litres/ha) which could clash with maize drilling and silage making. "It will slow me up, when we could have had it all done," says Mr Dale.

However, it was vital to get on, says Mr Stuart. "We had an inch of rain in 12hrs recently and a lot of splashing, so the disease pressure from septoria is very high.

"I was happy to use a bit of Foil triazole on the milling Abbot and keep the strobs up our sleeve for later. It sticks like glue and is rainfast in three minutes."

NORTH

WITH septoria romping to the top of the crop in a short run of untreated wheat at Croft Farms, Darlington, Anthony Hornshaw is relieved that his two MB-Tracs with mounted sprayers had been round all the cereals with a first fungicide by the weekend.

"We seem to be on top of tritici which is the main threat. But it was interesting to see how it had taken off in the few yards travelled before the chemical came through the booms."

Yellow rust has been reported in Riband and Equinox elsewhere in the area, but so far none has been spotted at Croft.

Basic T1 treatment was 0.5litres/ha of Opus (epoxiconazole) or Landmark (kresoxim-methyl + epoxiconazole). "We assessed the risk and varied it according to variety, fertility and the growth stage of the wheat and barley and used an appropriate mixer.

"I am still very happy with Opus, but we want to assess the benefits of the strobilurins. We plan to use Amistar with or without Opus at flag leaf."

With no muck inputs a late growth regulator is unlikely to be needed on the wheats. "We try to manipulate the bag N so we dont require Terpal. But we will be poised to go with 0.75litres/ha on the barley soon."

NIRELAND

WITH some land at Killyleagh unfit to drill but other land still sprayable, Graham Furey has made sure disease in winter barley, particularly rhynchosporium, has been nipped in the bud. About 75% of the wheats had also had their T1 spray by last weekend.

Standard treatment on the barley, mainly Pastoral, is 0.5litres/ha of Punch C (carbendazim + flusilazole) + 0.75litres/ha of Orka (fenpropimorph + quinoxyfen). "With the amount of rhyncho we get here we have to use the Punch C or MBC as routine."

Doses are modified where clearly justified, but with many small fields it is hard to adopt individual tactics, says Mr Furey. "I rely on Bert Taggart, an independent agronomist from Belfast, to give me the overall picture."

0.75litres/ha of Barleyquat growth regulator was added, to follow the same amount applied earlier. The Mandops product and its wheat stablemate Bettaquat are safer than straight chlormequat in the often difficult, cool conditions in the province, he explains. "I dont think we will need any Cerone later because the crop isnt as thick as some years."

Strobilurin fungicides will be reserved for T2 and the all important T3 sprays in the wheats. "Ear sprays are critical over here."

For now his normal triazole/Bravo (chlorothalonil) mix should take care of the main threat, septoria. Main difference this year is that some of the triazole is the new Flamenco (fluquinconazole).

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NIRELAND

12 June 1998

EAST

THIS years combinable crops are unlikely to be as rewarding as those of 1997 at West Hall Farm, Rickinghall, Norfolk.

But despite the catchy season David Pettitt believes they should perform quite well.

"I am reasonably optimistic though I do not anticipate yields being as good as the two previous seasons. We had a cracking year last year, but there is more take-all in second wheats this time. I just wish I had sold all my wheat forward a year ago!"

Septoria has been a constant threat to the crop throughout the season. "Without a doubt it has been the main problem, but I am not particularly worried."

His little-and-often fungicide strategy based on Opus with Bravo (chlorothalonil) or Tern (fenpropidin) has maintained adequate control, he reports.

"We are getting a bit of yellow rust in the Hussar, but the ear wash due this week or early next should take care of it."

Folicur (tebuconazole) alone at rates as yet undecided, is the fungicide of choice for this stage. "I should not think we shall add anything else because of the cost." But Aphox (pirimicarb) will probably be included against aphids, though much depends on this weeks weather.

Rainfall has been particularly patchy in the area. "But we have probably had enough to see us through. We had 7mm in an hour last week." Earlier, when the farm had 9mm (0.35in) in one spell, streets in Attleborough only 15 miles away were 300mm (1ft) under water, he notes.

After last years experience with winter barleys, when Fanfare was 85% lodged but Regina only 5%, Mr Pettitt is glad he switched 100% to the latter. "There is a bit of net blotch in it, but it is all still standing. We toyed with the idea of Cerone regulator but did not use it because of the cost."

MIDLANDS

TELESCOPED growth at Blakenhall Park, Burton under Needwood, means there is little difference between wheats sown on Sept 5 and Oct 22.

"The early sown ones are now only about four days ahead," says manager, Steven McKendrick, who reserves judgement on likely harvest outcome.

"I am not counting my chickens yet. There is still a long way to go." But the cost of growing wheat this year should be down on budget, even though ear wash treatments, half complete at the start of this week, had to be strengthened.

"There is still a lot of disease pressure. Septoria has been roaring away, especially in the bottom of crops, but we have kept on top of our spray programmes. Varieties have been performing according to expectations. I would not say that the Consort has been dirtier than anything else. We have had yellow rust on the Brigadier, but it has never got away from us."

Planned variable cost spend was £193/ha (£78/acre) including £47/ha (£19/acre) for fungicides, he notes. "I think we will do it for £75/acre."

With just one field showing some lodging on headland overlaps, Mr McKendrick believes his nitrogen application policy has been spot on. For the second year running his decision to cut seed rates and reduce plant populations, combined with a Moddus (trinexapac-ethyl)/chlormequat regulator approach on the most forward crops, appears to have paid off. "We held off the N until the beginning of April when we applied 80kg/ha." Top up to about 190kg/ha (152 units/acre) took place at the end of that month.

Capitol winter oilseed rape flattened by Easter snow recovered and, like the Apex and Bristol, has podded well, he reports. But downy mildew in spring beans is severe enough to warrant a double hit with Folicur (tebuconazole). "We usually only go through once," he says.

NORTH

GOOD spraying days have been rare this season at High Farm, Brandsby, N Yorks, where Keith Snowball had 155mm (6in) of rain in April, 67mm (2.5in) in May and a similar amount in the first week of June.

"First wheats are looking well apart from a lot of volunteer barley, a common problem this year. But second wheats, especially on poorer land, are not too promising." He blames restricted root growth on the rain-compacted soil.

Wild oats and sterile brome, the legacy perhaps of autumn herbicide rate cuts, are also reappearing, he notes. "Maybe we shot ourselves in the foot. Unless we get a lot of sunshine we are looking at only an average to below average year."

The main snag has been finding a dry slot to drill spring oilseed rape. It eventually went in on May 12. The most obvious feature thereafter was the speed with which hybrid Hyola 401 compensated for the delay compared with conventional variety Sprinter, he notes.

Despite difficulties in getting sprays on, Mr Snowball is confident that he met optimum growth reg timings on the wheats. A chlormequat/Moddus stiffening mix at 1.25 and 0.3 litres/ha, respectively, was used on Consort after oilseed rape stubble receiving pig muck. "It has done a marvellous job. It nearly breaks when you walk on it."

As far as nitrogen is concerned he admits he lost patience and applied 50kg/ha (40 units/acre) too early. "One of our neighbours waited until the end of April and put it all on at once then and his crops have really flown."

For winter barleys on sandy soil the early treatment might have paid, he admits. But the rain has been so heavy he fears much of the early wheat application may have been leached as may some of the autumn applied potash. "I just wonder whether we ought not to start applying potash again in the spring."

Regina has been noticeably less affected by rhynchosporium than Fighter given the same fungicide treatment, he says.

NIRELAND

GIVEN good harvest weather winter cereal and oilseed rape yields could be useful at Ballyhenry House Farm, Myroe, Co Londonderry, according to Michael Kane.

"The wheats generally look good, but in the barley there is probably a bit more rhynchosporium than I like to see." Growth regulators, chlormequat-based Bettaquat and Barleyquat along with Cerone (2-chloroethylphosphonic acid) have performed well in both crops despite cold weather early in the season. "They have shortened the wheat especially well.

"Some fields look a bit thin, but I know from experience that they should yield."

Nitrogen applications to the cereals were postponed until mid-March to avoid encouraging over-thick stands, with the main dressing going on in mid-April. In contrast to other parts of the country the weather stayed reasonably cool and dry that month, which made timings relatively straightforward. "We kept the total rates similar to last year – 190-200 units/acre on the wheats and 170 on the barley – because we were using Amistar and wanted to keep their full potential," says Mr Kane.

That fungicide was used both early on and is planned as the wheat ear wash, probably at 0.5-0.7 litres/ ha. That will bring the total dose to 1.4litres/ha, a rate well justified by a high septoria threat and the usual Northern Ireland prospect of a delayed harvest, he explains.

That decision increases the overall pesticide bill, but this should be offset by a slight trimming of herbicide use, which appears to have had no detrimental effect.

"On cleavers half-rate Eagle seems to have worked very well."

The oilseed rape, most sprayed mid-flowering with a Rovral (iprodione)/mbc mix, appears much more promising than last year, he notes. "But there has been quite a bit of light leaf spot on one unsprayed field."

The earliest sown wheat field is also quite badly affected by barley yellow dwarf virus, he adds. &#42

Yields wont match last years but should not be too bad, says David Pettitt.

Steven McKendrick has made marginal savings but is wary of predicting harvest outcome.

Lots of sun is needed to counter a sodden spring, says Keith Snowball.

Michael Kane (left) and brother Boyd are looking forward to useful yields.

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