Farmer Focus Arable: Philp Reck’s winter barley crops showing stress

Heavy rain at the beginning of April dried up quickly; the only problem now is that it seems to have forgotten how to rain.

We have only had 16mm in the past seven weeks at the main farm while, 15 miles further south, our later-sown spring barley got frequent heavy showers. These crops are catching up fast on the earlier-sown barley. Crops at the main farm are holding their own, though, as the min-till establishment helped retain moisture and plants have put out plenty of roots foraging for nutrients and moisture.

The later-sown spring barley was top-dressed after sowing using the pre-emergence marks. This was washed in by passing showers and was available in the soil to the plants in the drier conditions.

Some nutrient deficiency is showing up on the lighter land, though, and this was treated with Yara Crop Lift. However, winter barley crops are under considerably more stress than the spring barley and this could impact on yield and quality.

Spring barley has been sprayed with a T1 of Proline (prothioconazole) + Jenton (pyclarastrobin + fenpropimorph). We are seeing more rynchosporium than would be expected in a dry season.

The sprayer will be going through again with T2 from the second week of June onwards, as soon as the awns are beginning to emerge. We have found this is the ideal timing for T2, rather than wait for the head to emerge fully.

This will be sprayed with the Barley Gold twin-pack (epoxiconazole + pyraclostrobin + boscalid + fenpropimorph) and Bravo (chlorothalonil). This will be our third season using this product. In previous seasons it has coped well with disease pressure and the boscalid improves straw strength.

Although the weather has been dry, reducing application rates can be risky if the weather becomes unsettled between now and the harvest. Applied at a rate of 4ha/10ha to the pack it also makes filling the sprayer a simple procedure.

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