West: Severe BYDV infection shows in cereals

BYDV infection is now making itself apparent in many crops. Some of the infections are severe and some are clearly later infections with much milder symptoms, similar to those seen in spring barley most years.

The cause is obvious. A mild winter that did not stop continued aphid activity, combined with excessively wet ground conditions, which prevented any spray applications to the crops for the four months November through to February.

The severe infections, by and large, are in the crops that were not treated with Deter (clothianidin) seed treatment, while those that were treated with Deter are only showing signs of late infection. This should be a salutary warning for the future, as from this autumn most pyrethroid aphicides used for BYDV control will have either 12m or 18m arthropod buffer zones on field headlands as part of their approval for use.

It should be a no-brainer that in the future winter cereal seed should be treated with Deter if it is being planted early enough to be at risk or in a high risk geographical area.

At the time of writing, most winter barley crops are rapidly approaching awn emergence and will be receiving their T2 fungicides imminently.

Septoria continues to be a concern as the season progresses. Most crops in the area received a fairly well timed T0 fungicide application, but many of the T1 applications went a little awry due to a wet and very windy week just as many were popping their final leaf 3 out.

With further rain in the forecast and a huge amount of inoculum in the bottom of the wheats, a well-timed T2 application is going to be critical to keeping plants as clean as possible. The best possible fungicide would be three weeks with no rain, but if this were to happen it would be devastating for many spring crops.

There is a large area of spring barley in the area this year. The early planted crops have been slow to emerge and establish, which is never good for spring barley and the later planted ones have a lot of growing to do in a short period of time. Having had a run of several vintage spring barley years it is looking like the wheels, to some degree, could come off this year.

The country’s “Cinderella” crop, winter oats has enjoyed a wet winter and a slow start to the spring and are looking very promising. Due to the slow start, they are not looking too “lodgey”, which is always a good sign.

This is a crop that we are constantly being told is the “future” and is going to be required in ever increasing quantities. It is therefore a shame that buyers do not seem willing to pay a sensible price for a grain that is evidently in demand. If it is indeed a super food and required for all sorts of non-food uses as well then surely it must be worth the same as basic feed wheat.

The planting of maize, which in the region is a major crop, is at long last well under way, but it has been a long wait for soil temperatures to get to 8C and be on a rising plane. For maize to do well we could now do with a day or two of warm rain and a spell of weather where neither day or night time temperatures drop too low.

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