North: Watch out for aphids

Rainfall during June has improved many crops, but it may have arrived too late for the winter barley. Oilseed rape and wheats generally look well on the heavier land, but wheat on lighter soils or late drilled after roots will struggle to produce good yields. 

Many barley crops have obvious levels of secondary growth. Consider applying pre-harvest glyphosate where necessary as a harvest aid, although getting the application timing right could prove tricky due to the wide maturity variations within a field.

Aphids have been building up again in peas and have required controlling with an insecticide.  Keep monitoring crops as recent warm weather can soon allow aphid numbers to increase quickly above the 20% of plants infested threshold.

The recent rainfall also increases the risk of leaf and pod spot in peas. Therefore, applying a fungicide now will provide some useful protection. Black bean aphid numbers are building up in bean crops which may also warrant an insecticide.

Attending many trials meetings has given me the opportunity to review what has happened, but more importantly to plan for next year’s crops. A plethora of oilseed rape varieties are available to choose from, but realistically half a dozen varieties will prove most popular with hybrids becoming increasingly sought after. 

In wheat the new varieties appear to offer some agronomic or marketing benefits rather than a major step up in yield. As a result, many growers seem content to stick to varieties they know. 

It was good to see the work of institutions such as Rothamsted Research at the Cereals event, including take-all and variety interactions. Their work on differences in wheat varieties to drought tolerance was informative and very timely.

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