Emergence in first wheat crops is a little bit ragged in places, due to three weeks of dry weather after drilling.
However, recent rainfall has enabled more seeds to germinate, filling in gappy areas. As seed rates were cut back due to the early sowing date, these crops will be bordering on the thin side, although I am sure they won’t be any the worse for it.
Second wheats and winter barley were ploughed and pressed, closely followed by the KRM RTi power harrow/drill combination. These crops look superb; being sown into moisture they have emerged very evenly. On our soils and with our minimal work force, this really is the best and cheapest method for crop establishment and is almost weatherproof.
It is amazing that our main variety, Oakley, has been removed from the Recommended List trials, due to its yellow rust susceptibility, even though it will be the most widely grown variety in the country. I am confident we have a programme in place that will keep it free from disease. We were all unaware of Oakley’s yellow rust problems last year and it was a case of chasing the disease throughout the season. This will not happen again.
With a lot of spraying to do at this time of year, our best buy of the year, apart from my Tigers season ticket of course, must be the Hypro ProClean nozzle for washing out agrochemical containers. A lot of time can be wasted when filling up the sprayer but this contraption, fitted to the induction hopper, vastly reduces the time spent rinsing out cans and gets into every nook and cranny as well.
The recent rain will have re-activated the pre-emergence spray of Crystal tank mixed with either Diflufenican or Chlortoluron, depending on variety. There is a good covering of volunteer oilseed rape which I hope will be knocked back.