Crops have responded well to recent rainfall and warmer weather, even the more distasteful looking fields (you know, the ones you avoid looking at!) have rallied and are looking better than expected. What we need now is lots of sunshine without too much heat to drive grain-fill and maximise yield potential.
Milling wheat growers using foliar nitrogen to boost protein and increase the chance of achieving milling premiums are now making these applications (at watery to late milky ripe). When applying foliar N reduce the risk of scorch by avoiding bright sunny and windy conditions.
Aphid populations have been low in all crops; however, small colonies are now building. In wheat, at the moment populations remain low and hopefully will be checked by natural predators. However, keep an eye on these populations as they could build quickly, and move onto the ear as temperatures warm.
Pea and black bean aphid are more easily found. Monitor crops and treat at threshold to prevent yield loss from direct feeding damage and virus transmission.
In beet, recent south and southwesterly winds have blown in Silver Y Moths, which are now laying eggs. The BBRO advisory bulletin provides good warning of this pest, but keep an eye on your own crops. The general consensus seems that the established threshold of five caterpillars per plant is too high, especially on smaller beet.
As crops begin to ripen it is a good time to evaluate the season and plan for the next crops. In particular map any weed or soil problems and consider autumn herbicide strategies and remedial soil cultivations. For some of us harvest will not begin until August and even if all goes well the window for drilling rapeseed will be tight. Make sure you have prepared your strategy from harvest to establishment to ensure the rapeseed has the best possible start and to minimise the legacy of this difficult season to the next.