East: Treat phoma as soon as possible

It is still very wet underfoot as I write this and the last two early mornings we had frost on the ground. So, although we have had some warm days cold nights are giving quite a diurnal range, which is not ideal for growth,

Having said that, crops are greening up even though fertiliser, in the main, has not been applied. But, in order for mineralisation to occur there must be nitrogen left in the soil after the winter.

In general, oilseed rape crops that haven’t been stripped by pigeons and/or rabbits look very well with new growth being seen. There is quite a lot of phoma on leaves, even where a single spray was applied earlier, but those who got two sprays on are not suffering as badly.

There is still benefit, particularly on the smaller leaved crops, to apply a non-regulating fungicide as soon as possible as experts are suggesting there could be some big losses from phoma damage this year.

Mayweed is a problem on some headlands and some young charlock has appeared where the crop has opened out. However, timings are getting tighter as the two products that can be used must be on before flower buds are visible above the crop. This can be tricky where stalks only remain as the flower buds can appear before leaves reappear.

I am finding deadheart symptoms of wheat bulb fly now and we are applying remedial treatment where necessary. This needs to be on quickly for two reasons. Firstly, the crops they are in are not well tillered, so killing the larvae before they move from tiller to tiller is vital.

Secondly, the sequencing of Atlantis (iodosulfuron + mesosulfuron) or Broadway Star (florasulam + pyroxsulam) require a four week or two week gap and there are many fields that require attention for blackgrass and other grassweed problems earlier rather than later.

There are also issues raised where malting spring barley is to go in behind beet that has been chopped and or ploughed in. Many thoughts are being put forward as to what will happen to the possible release of large amounts of nitrogen that could still be in the soil and the impact these will have on nitrogen levels in the grain. There is also the issue of lodging to contend with.

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