North: Crunch time to keep on top of crop diseases

A good quantity of rain earlier this month, followed by warm sunny weather has seen crops grow incredibly fast. All crops look good, but the recent fall in commodity prices has taken the gloss off what looks to be good yield potential. Of course, Mother Nature will have the final say, but so far so good.

Winter wheat T2 flag leaf fungicides have been or are being applied. Flag leaf emergence has been very variable within the same field, which has made it difficult to decide when to apply the T2 fungicide. Heavy downpours, followed by warm weather during early flag leaf emergence will have splashed plenty of septoria on to the top yield forming leaves. Earlier T0 and T1 fungicides have worked extremely well, but now the all-important T2 fungicide will have to work hard to eradicate and protect against septoria. Looking ahead, as the boots begin to split and the ears begin to appear then monitoring for wheat orange blossom midge will be required.

Winter beans are in full flower. Chocolate spot has been very obvious and has required a fungicide at early flower. Weather conditions have been ideal for downey mildew too, which is beginning to creep in and will need a specific fungicide if more than 25% of plants are infected. The warm weather has also triggered the bruchid beetle alert warning system in winter beans and insecticides have been required for their control. Pea and bean weevil have continued to attack spring beans, causing high levels of leaf notching.Spring bean pre-emergence herbicides have worked better than expected as many were applied to dry seed-beds.However, some fields have required post-emergence herbicides  to control grassweeds such as blackgrass or broad-leaved weeds such as charlock and volunteer oilseed rape.

Spring barley crops look excellent in the main and have raced through their growth stages. T1 fungicides have been applied with rhynchosporium and brown rust being the main diseases present.

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