North: Back to “old clothes and porridge”

The annual pilgrimage to Cereals is past and well worth the visit as always. I was keen to see if the reports from the South of “rampant rust”, “super Septoria” and waterlogged fields were indeed as bad as portrayed.

Disease pressure certainly appears to have been intense, however, although I took my wellies I did not need them on the show site. Only the most robust fungicide programmes have stood up to the onslaught of disease this season with weather disrupting most spray schedules.


Back at the ranch crops are moving on. Most winter wheats will have had their T2 spray and all that remains is a head spray which is a must in this part of the world. A strong triazole will be the keystone to this treatment along with chlorothalonil, remembering to check for label restrictions.

Spring barley crop growth stages vary from tillering through to awns peeping. Although disease levels appear to be low growers should try to hit both the mid tillering and crop booting times for optimum disease control.

The current amount of leaf wetness is likely to mean that there will be an increased risk of ramularia. Prothioconazole based products plus chlorothalonil have performed well in the past. The new SDHI chemistry has looked good in trial so there is ample choice. Just don’t miss the T2 timing around booting.


As with spring barleys, potato growth stages are all over the place, from no emergence through to foliage meeting along the drills. Pre-emergence herbicides appear to have worked well although occasional patches of couch are putting in an appearance. It can be checked with a graminicide.

Blight control programmes should be started promptly as there have already been a number of high risk periods. Keep product rates up, keep to a tight schedule (weather permitting) and mix and match active ingredients to avoid the risk of resistance. Remember to check for growth on old dumps and destroy foliage as required.

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