Light showers have washed in the recently applied nitrogen and crops have responded well, with most looking a “good colour”. But frustratingly the region needs more rain within the next fortnight or I fear yield potential will start to slip away. Some growers on lighter land with access to irrigation have already taken the opportunity to irrigate cereals before the water is needed by higher value crops.
Heavy land spring crops, drilled into dry, cloddy seedbeds are still struggling to establish although most are responding to the light rain and have improved.
Weed control in heavy land beet remains a challenge, although most crops are now established well enough to receive the required robust herbicide mixes. Beet on lighter land where moisture was retained at drilling looks good and early weed control has been well timed and successful.
Mid-September sown wheat’s now have emerging flag leafs and the next T2 fungicide spray is imminent. Robust T1 mixes often based on a second generation SDHI, have worked well aided by the drier weather. However, Septoria and rust pressure is still high; if you need convincing take a look at untreated crop around a telegraph pole or in a field corner. In the early September sown wheat, septoria is evident on leaf 4, and although disease has been contained it only has to make a small jump to infect the above layers important in determining yield. My advice would be to keep fungicide timings tight and sprays robust, all crops with good yield potential will be receiving a second “new” SDHI at this timing. Apart from protecting our earlier investment flag leaf sprays need to give robust protection over the coming 3-4 weeks. Be driven by timing intervals and if an additional spray at the end of the season is required then so be it!
The T2 timing is also an opportunity to finalise cleaver control and apply a late season PGR, so long as it is applied before ear emergence.
Winter beans have received the first fungicide at early to mid-flowing as chocolate spot begins to develop low in the canopy.
If growing “difficult black-grass”, brace yourself and take a deep breath as crops are now showing their rather public display of uncontrolled grassweeds. I think we all understand how difficult the battle against black-grass is as each year more growers wrestle with control. Most now accept that chemistry alone won’t get us out of these problems and more rotational changes are required.
So will the rapeseed and barley harvest be early? Perhaps, but I have no crystal ball, just book the holiday and hope for the best!