North: Drought taking its toll

The dry weather continues.  It is now beginning to get serious for crops on light or thin wold soils with later-drilled autumn crops particularly affected.  Heavy land crops are generally looking well, particularly early sown first wheats and oilseed rape.  The benefits of fields receiving manure or slurry is clear to see this spring.

T1 fungicides have been applied on time to winter wheat crops which has kept the yellow rust pressure on varieties such as Oakley and Viscount well under control.  Attention now moves to the T2 timing on winter barley as awns are beginning to emerge.  With the weather being so dry and disease pressure low this T2 fungicide will be a top up to protect recent growth and take the crop through to harvest. 

There are many options available but a strobilurin plus triazole mix will suffice in most cases.  If ramularia is of concern then some chlorothalonil or the new SDHI fungicides will have some activity.  There are very few winter barley crops that will need further growth regulating with products such as Terpal (chloroethylphosphonic acid + mepiquat) or Cerone (ethephon) due to the dry weather providing natural growth regulation.

Oilseed rape crops have been treated with a sclerotinia fungicide due to the prediction models suggesting weather has been suitable for infection. Seed weevils have been much more abundant than normal and have exceeded threshold in many cases.

Winter beans are beginning to flower so will soon be ready to treat with the T1 fungicide.  This is mainly for the control of chocolate spot which is evident in the base of several crops.  In spring beans pre-emergence herbicides have struggled to work as effectively due to the very dry soils, so a higher number of crops are needing some post-emergence bentazone to control weeds such as bindweed, mayweed and volunteer oilseed rape.

Spring barley crops have grown remarkably well considering the dry weather but are now beginning to look thirsty.  A good flush of weeds has emerged, but with crops not tillering that well there is likely to be a late flush once the rain finally arrives.  T1 fungicides will be due shortly and apart from low mildew levels disease pressure is low.

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