Most winter wheat crops have received their T2 fungicide over the last 7-10days. The late onset of ‘April’ showers in May has brought with it mild and moist conditions perfect for the development of diseases onto upper leaves. As a result, it is the robust and timely fungicide applications that have kept crops looking clean.
As plants reach ear emergence, varieties are expressing marked differences in maturity and disease susceptibilities. These will need to be taken into consideration when planning T3 fungicides. No varieties have a good resistance to fusarium, so all crops are at risk, especially if wet conditions persist. Control will be maximised by applying in a protectant situation immediately prior to, or as crops start, flowering.
Monitoring for orange wheat blossom midge (OWBM) has begun on early, susceptible varieties, especially on land where problems have been experienced in the past. Whether by pheremone traps, sticky traps or visual assessment it is vital as applying insecticides at the wrong time or unnecessarily will do more damage than good by killing beneficials.
Similar consideration must be taken when planning insecticides for bruchid beetle control in bean crops. Winter crops are now in full flower and in need of pollinators, yet many fields seem desperately low on insect activity. Only once temperatures exceed 20C over two consecutive days and crops begin to develop pods should an insecticide be contemplated. Some bean crops suffered from early attacks of downy mildew and received a specific fungicide, and most now require a fungicide application for chocolate spot control.
Sugar beet plant populations are fantastic and crops are progressing well. Counting chains has generally been unnecessary as so few plants were lost at establishment. Final broad-leaved weed herbicides are being applied before canopies close in and as fat hen continues to emerge with each rain shower. Typical leaf curling can be seen from sulfonylurea herbicide applications; where beet has taken a knock from herbicides and before showing any deficiency symptoms, the 6-8 leaf stage is an ideal timing for a micronutrient treatment, especially where another herbicide is planned or on lighter soils.