North: Cool conditions slowing development

Temperatures are below seasonal averages resulting in rather slow crop development. Never have I seen such a difference in growth between the lower parts of the county and land above 400 ft which received a big dump of snow at the end of March. After some reasonable growth in mid March the snow really did set crops back.

Wheat in the later parts has final leaf three appearing and crops are getting their T1 fungicide. With more wheat following white crops this season don’t forget to check for eyespot.  Septoria levels are low to moderate in susceptible varieties and yellow rust has been kept out by the T0 spray.

Mildew as ever is very much site specific but generally at lower levels this season. Apart from late N on milling varieties the final nitrogen should have been applied to feed types.

Winter barley is well on its way with the flag leaf tips beginning to appear.

At present few crops will be getting any late PGR. The T2 fungicide will be applied as the awns begin to appear. My favoured T2 fungicide will be Fandango (fluoxastrobin + prothioconazole) + chlorothalonil.

The early sown spring barley was hit with the deluge of rain plus or minus snow at the very end of March. Spring barley off course likes to get off to a quick start, and the very opposite has happened this season. There are many good fields but others look rather scabby showing typical May yellowing which greatly affects tiller survival.

Many soils are becoming very susceptible to compaction and erosion damage by those increasingly common heavy rainfall events. Damage is much more common where a mainly white crop rotation exists with straw being continually removed. Those sown in early to mid April have emerged very quickly but will always lack time to fulfil their potential. With mildew now appearing on untreated Optic I’m using Flexity (metrafenone) in with the herbicide on susceptible varieties.

Oilseed rape crops are finally in flower.

Again the size of canopy varies more than usual. On the East Lothian Arable Monitor Farm the rape was established behind a subsoiler leg along with a banded application of DAP. This method has certainly shown its worth in the later sown fields with much improved root growth in the autumn leading to a much greater canopy size this spring. Sclerotinia spray decisions are coming upon us aided by several prediction models to improve disease forecasting.

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