North: Brome levels high in min-till fields

The T3 sprays are all complete, so we’re now on the home straight. We’ve bought our way out of the most severe disease attack for years and so far its worked. Lets hope that we now have some kind weather to allow grain to fill and crops to remain standing.

Cereals have great potential and mostly excellent disease control. Its not just dear chemicals that have done it; it’s a full programme of control and the commitment of growers to achieve spot-on timing, which has been great.  Septoria and yellow rust are the main contenders and we’re two-nil up at the moment. That’s not to say that disease won’t ultimately finish crops off – it will, but at least all the green leaves are performing when they need to be. Septoria will surely be the ultimate decider of yield but the big spend this year looks like its worth every penny. Fusarium, a complex of several diseases isn’t beaten yet, but some reasonable weather over flowering hopefully means that the worst threat is over – but this is one enemy that fights dirty and so may yet have its revenge.

Its time to sell tines and buy (plough) shares. Brome levels are severe in too many min-tilled crops. We’re going to have to do a whole lot more stubble working and weed burials in coming years. This also means revisions to crop rotations, even though blackgrass still doesn’t major over here; bromes and ryegrass are bad enough. The renaissance of barley might also be curtailed on some land where we lack effective control.

Weed control in maize has been good so far, but too many growers have still to start. Once again, there is excessive weed producing early competition and crops are suffering before it’s taken out. It’s clearly best to use a cheap pre-emergence option such as pendimethalin as first defence, reducing the burden on post-em herbicides and reducing the stress for both growers and plants.

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