High eyespot risk threatens yields

Eyespot infection in second and early-sown first wheats could hit yields by 2-3t/ha this harvest, according to Bill Angus from Nickerson.

Wet conditions during May and recent hot, dry weather, which caused crops to “burn off” prematurely, suited the disease, he says.

“I’ve seen it across the south and further north into Yorkshire – it tends to be the lighter soils that will go first.

I think it is going to be a very bad year for second wheats – we could see losses of 2.5-3t/ha.

Behind septoria, eyespot is the second most damaging disease in the UK and while its incidence is often patchy and sporadic from year to year, growers must pay more attention to it when making variety decisions, he urges.

“People don’t realise how important it is. It’s not just second wheats that are at risk – eyespot can hit first wheat as well, especially if the wrong variety has been sown very early.

Choice of variety in specific situations is key.”

If eyespot does get into the crop, susceptibility to take-all later in the season may also be increased, he adds.

In trials (following wheat) at Nickerson’s site near Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, Deben, Istabraq and Einstein have all held up well against eyespot, whereas more has been seen in Robigus, he continues.

“Robigus is a very good variety as a first wheat, but it is particularly prone to eyespot in a second wheat situation.”

But while Mr Angus thinks some second wheats could suffer this year, yield and quality prospects for first wheat are
good, providing there has been sufficient moisture to fill the grain and crops are allowed to finish slowly.

Heavier, more moisture retentive soils and those in northern areas could fare particularly well, he suggests.


Futures contracts: farmer views wanted

Do you use futures and options markets to help you manage risk? Or are you interested to learn more? Farmers Weekly is keen to find out the extent to which UK farmers use these markets. Complete our survey here.

Take the survey

Futures markets and commodity risk management online course:

  • Risk management strategies for a more predictable financial performance
  • Educated conversations when collaborating with your advisors
  • Negotiate better prices with your grain merchants

View course

Using contractors saves you time and money. Now you can book, track and pay all in one place. Register for early access today.

Find out more
See more