North: Fertiliser and variety choices for new season

After another 25mm of rainfall over the weekend and with more rain forecast for this week, I am waiting for the first comment wishing it to stop. That aside our crops have greened up fantastically in the last week to fortnight as they pick up some much needed nitrogen and move on.

Crops look fantastic from the road, but maybe when you get into them they are all a tiller short. The crops looked similar at the same stage last season around here and they went on to yield well because they got adequate sunshine in June. So now we have had a bit of moisture, we could do with some sunshine and warmth, but not too much.

Winter barley may be starting to turn and I am just hoping that with heavy rain and winds that they remain standing until harvest. I don’t think that harvest will be much earlier than normal with this crop, but a lot depends on weather from now on.

Winter wheat has or will be getting a final T3 fungicide this week due to flag leaf sprays being hampered with wind and yellow rust still showing in untreated pockets. This, for us, will be a top-up of the foliar disease control based around prothioconazole and a strobilurin. Looking at large amount of ladybirds in crop they must be keeping on top of aphids at moment. We will monitor this as crops develop, although it is unlikely that thresholds will be reached.

Spring barley is now mostly at awn emergence and again has bulked up this last couple of weeks growing away from stress/manganese problems. This fungicide timing is our most important one to get right as we are looking to protect against ramularia leaf spot and rynchosporium, so this will be based on a strobilurin/triazole with the addition of chlorothalonil. There appears to be a large number of cereal leaf beetle grazing at crops causing leaf stripping and these will need to be monitored.  But again, most crops can cope with them.

As we finish this season’s crops off, our thoughts are turning to planning for next season with fertiliser plans and variety choice. On the barley front, malting varieties are likely to remain at Pearl and Cassata with good contracts available to grow. On the feed side, I think that Volume will take a big chunk of market as it does look good in field.

For wheat varieties, we are still looking at Viscount and Oakley. But Scout looks promising in an early drill slot and the crops of this variety I have look really good with a good diversification disease package. Santiago is also generating plenty of interest.

As we head down to Cereals this season, there definitely will be a lot of talking points, but rainfall hopefully has raised the spirits for most.



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