Crop Watch: Prioritise spraying as disease pressure mounts

Predictably it’s the impact of the wet weather that is dominating updates from our Crop Watch agronomists across the country.

As disease pressure mounts, we’re approaching a critical point for control programmes.

Virtually all crops are – or shortly will be – suffering from a lack of attention from the sprayer. And to get round the issue, a number of operators are reported to be switching back from row-crop wheels to distinctly wider rubber.

As crunch-time approaches and decisions have to be made, prioritising which crop needs attention first is a tricky, but essential, job.

When it comes to fungicides the advice is that oilseed rape under heavy sclerotinia pressure should come first. This is because treatments are protectants only and so preventing any further disease spread is crucial.

Meanwhile, septoria is the main concern in wheats, but because control is possible after an outbreak there is a little more leeway.

Across the board there are still plenty of T1s to go on, but the warnings are to not further delay any T2s with the mounting disease pressure. Similarly we’re advised to keep rates at full strength.

Conversely, the recommendations for fertiliser applications differ. With top-heavy crops looking likely to be a challenge, the suggestion is to hold off with final top-dressings of nitrogen until any PGRs have had a chance to take hold.

And with seed currently in the ground at risk of rotting away in cold, water-logged conditions, grain maize growers are warned to resist the temptation to get on with drilling the moment things begin to dry up. Hold back and wait until the mercury rises and drills can run without creating a sticky, smeared slot.

For a full regional round-up see our Crop Watch blog.

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