Mild winter sees rising cereal disease levels and early drilling

While the mild, dry winter is fuelling a build-up of key diseases in winter cereal crops, it is also allowing some farmers to make an early start to spring barley drilling,

There are even reports of dust being kicked up by drills, something that is unheard of in January, especially with memories still fresh of last year’s late, soggy spring.

A combination of forward crops and lack of frosts has seen both yellow rust and septoria appear in wheat crops, although a cold spell in the coming weeks would dampen down disease.

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Even varieties with good resistance to septoria are showing early signs of the disease, including Sundance and Extase which have Recommended List scores of 7.4 and 8.1, respectively.

Disease is also being seen in barley, with mildew seen in a crop of Surge, which is also showing signs of nutrient deficiency.

The dry conditions have already tempted out some drills with Laureate spring barley going into good conditions, with even some dust in January!

Wheat following sugar beet has also been drilled in good conditions, with one Cambridgeshire farmer highlighting that the ground is as dry as it was back in October.

And finally something more unusual, a field of oilseed rape being grazed by sheep and another being mown as part of trials looking at ways of controlling controlling cabbage stem flea beetle larvae.