Crop watch: Bad weather disrupts spraying schedules

Crop Watch returns with a new and improved format including videos and this week, our agronomy experts look at getting their spray programmes back on track and tackling manganese deficiency.

Patrick Stephenson, Yorkshire, commented that despite no two seasons being the same, “there are certain incidences that return like clockwork – manganese deficiency and my friends the pigeons”.

Crops emerged into daylight after the melt and everything looked well. But as the temperature rose, the first signs of manganese deficient crops could be seen.

This is the time of year when Mr Stephenson recommends industrial-strength manganese. “It is also the time when the spray operators hide as mixing the powdered manganese can be a real pain and getting a window to apply the product is also difficult.”

Pigeons are also proving to be a problem in the west with Bryce Rham seeing crops being “severely grazed” where there was no pigeon control. “Even where control options are in place it is a struggle, but will pay off in the long run.”

In winter wheat, his clients still have about 1000 acres (about 400ha) left to apply any form of herbicide. But he can’t see this being possible until the temperatures rise.

He also needs to apply Atlantis a the small area of blackgrass and Broadway Star (florasulam + pyroxsulam) for the farms with brome – either entire fields or headlands.

In the south, Nick Brown noted that in contrast to last year, winter linseed had not yet suffered any visible symptoms of frost lift.

He noted that Defy (prosulfocarb) pre-emergence, applied under a specific off-label approval (SOLA) had done a good job of containing blackgrass and controlling broadleaved weeds.

But on two farms where only part of the acreage was treated, untreated fields were looking more vigorous. “Time will tell if this translates into yield and if Defy is really safe on linseed.”

The bad weather has left last autumn’s spray programme in tatters. “Quite a bit of rape has not received a phoma spray or grass weed control.

“Similarly, few wheat crops received Atlantis (mesosulfuron-methyl + iodosulfuron-methyl-sodium) and it is still far too cold to contemplate its use yet.”

Unfortunately, he pointed out, blackgrass plants in more forward crops are well-tillered and will take some stopping.

Continuing with weed control, Brian Ross in Suffolk said he did have some oilseed crops with large runch and small rape plants.

“Control of these weeds is unlikely to be good even with Fox‘s (bifenox) ability to give reasonable control of charlock when used in a programme for cranesbill.”

As phoma took time to appear on small crops in the autumn, planned applications have not gone on because of the arrival of the poor weather.

“Walking these crops after the snow went showed the urgent need to apply the phoma spray, as the small rape plants have not grown away and are at risk of phoma.”

Click below for the full report from each region

Crop Watch East – Brian Ross

Crop Watch West – Bryce Rham

Crop Watch South – Nick Brown

Crop Watch North – Patrick Stephenson