East: Beet and maize weathering drought

There is no good news from this part of the world regarding cereals and a re-forecasting of yield potential is definitely needed.

Even the early first wheats, which were hanging on, are now waxing up and curling. Late-drilled wheat, many second wheat crops and spring cereals are in a perilous situation. Where the odd, and I mean odd, shower has been, the difference is very noticeable. But this is more a result of the sudden uptake of nitrogen than a relaxation from drought.

There has been very little disease, but I have noticed some yellow rust returning in Oakley where the fungicide timing has been stretched due to the wind, as well as some mildew at the stem base.

Generally, winter barley is fully out in ear and looks good, but water will be needed for grain fill and the light land crops are dying off quickly.

This only crops liking this weather so far are sugar beet and forage maize, with beet in some fields meeting not just between, but across the rows. Weed control which started out well has, in some instances, proved to be a nightmare with treatments unable to be timed properly due to the wind.

Knotgrass is the biggest problem in this area and tractor hoes have been utilised freely. I also have seen a great deal of weed beet with some fields being difficult to recognise as true beet or weed beet. However, there are still several headlands on heavier land that have ungerminated beet. With all the emphasis on contact action herbicides, if or when it rains and where beet have not closed up, a residual spray could be very beneficial in containing late fat hen that will almost certainly appear.

Weeds are growing fast in maize crops and should be taken out quickly as maize cannot tolerate early competition. Early drilled vining peas look well and even the later-drilled crops are emerging well thanks to the deeper drilling, so here’s hoping.

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