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.
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.
Found this focus of Yellow Rust in Dunston wheat in West Norfolk. Too early for any fungicide and hopefully a sharp frost or two will suppress its development? pic.twitter.com/M3BDaIsEmh
— David Paul Rushmer (@DavidPRushmer) January 16, 2019
Widespread yellow rust present in the Reflection winter wheat trial plots at the Terrington (Norfolk) research site pic.twitter.com/4aOfxzQRDX
— Timothy Boor (@TimBoor_Arable) January 8, 2019
— Chloe Morgan (@ChloeMo95) January 17, 2019
Easy to find septoria in September sown Graham and Santiago in Herefordshire today, even a bit of yellow rust if you looked really hard. Gout fly too, but only in the Graham for some reason. pic.twitter.com/hB76TRTHPE
— Paul Gosling (@PaulGosling10) January 15, 2019
Disease is also being seen in barley, with mildew seen in a crop of Surge, which is also showing signs of nutrient deficiency.
Seeing some mildew and nutrient deficiency in Surge winter barley today pic.twitter.com/I9dYN8uGue
— jonathan hawthorne (@jonnyhaw1) January 14, 2019
The dry conditions have already tempted out some drills with Laureate spring barley going into good conditions, with even some dust in January!
14th January Drilling spring barley Laureate at 250 seeds per m on the Fen, going in beautifully.
— Alex Wilcox (@AlexWil92208892) January 15, 2019
— John Jefferies (@Jethro777777) January 15, 2019
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.
— trumpington farm co (@trumpingtonfarm) January 16, 2019
— mattday82 (@mattday821) January 14, 2019
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.
— CCC Agronomy (@CCC_agronomy) January 16, 2019