East: More rain and sunshine please

At this critical time for crop development and growth it is likely that the continued dry and cool conditions will impact on yields.  However, September drilled wheats in good soil conditions with well developed root systems have the potential to yield well.

There is still a wide range of growth stages between crops; such diversity in wheat is unusual at this point in the season.  More forward wheats will have received a well timed flag leaf spray whilst more backward, late drilled crops may be treated up to two weeks later.  If the forecast is correct this settled spell will allow timely sprays; ideally three weeks after the T1 application, usually at full flag leaf emergence, assuming a conventionally timed programme. 

As forward wheats are at mid booting it is time to consider orange blossom midge.  Cool, dry conditions during pupation (usually early to mid May) will have delayed the time of adult hatch.  It is likely that more forward wheats will be beyond the susceptible stage before they emerge but a later flush may catch late heading crops.

Timeliness is important despite relatively low disease pressure, especially on yellow rust susceptible varieties. This season lower disease pressure so far may have reduced the eradicant protection required at flag leaf but appropriate doses will deliver strong protectant activity and persistence.

Having said this it is a brave person that tries to predict the midge, so my caveat is “these pests do not read the text books, so remain vigilant during ear emergence until flowering”.  Prophylactic sprays for midge control on all varieties are discouraged and treatment of resistant varieties e.g. Oakley, Robigus and Viscount is rarely cost effective.

Winter bean fungicides are being applied, disease pressure is currently low. Control of Bruchid Beetle is notoriously difficult as timing of sprays is crucial to control the adults before egg laying. Efforts to improve control by monitoring temperatures and attention to spray technique (e.g. higher water volumes and angled nozzles) should improve control.

Spring crops are growing slowly, struggling with the combination of dry and cool conditions. In beet grass weed control is now a priority.

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