Crop Watch: variable growth stages and poor weather complicate spray timings

Variable growth stages of both cereals and oilseed rape are adding to an already tricky spray season, according to FWi’s team of agronomists.

Some very forward crops were already approaching the T1 timing, yet in some cases, recent cold, wet weather meant T0 sprays had still not been applied in many areas.

“Growth stages are all over the place, with some true GS 32 in the same field as GS 27,” Frontier’s Brian Ross in Suffolk said. Some T0’s had gone on, but others were planned for this week, he said.

Weather conditions

Oilseed rape was equally variable and he would be “happy to see the back of it”. Some fields had flowering plants, alongside others just two inches high due to “phenomenal” pigeon damage.

In Shropshire, Bryce Rham said spraying days had been at a premium and T0’s had been hampered by wind, rain and wet, or waterlogged soil conditions.

The majority of winter barley crops were at GS 30-31 and a T1 should go on this week, he said. “But at the moment, it is at the back of the queue whilst T0’s are finished on the wheat.”


Einstein was the most forward wheat variety, although Humber and Timber were close behind, he added.

Nick Brown expected T1 sprays to go onto winter barley in the Oxfordshire region around 17 April, while wheat T1s would be nearer 21 April. “But as always the important factor is leaf emergence, with final leaf three being the target. Careful plant dissection is needed to check this”

Oilseed rape was a “very mixed bag”, depending on how well crops were established last autumn, he said.

Despite the recent cold, wet weather, Patrick Stephenson said crops looked generally well, although fieldwork had been disrupted. “T0 sprays are heading into the usual messy mish mash of T0.5let’s hope the weather improves, as land work is now starting to stack up.”

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