North: Crops respond to warmth

It is great to see how well crops have responded to a short spell of warm weather and they now look positively green compared to the scorched and purple appearance they have had for the past few months.

Strong winds have dried the land out so much that even the heaviest land has been able to be drilled with spring crops. However, the wind has been a nuisance in terms of limiting spraying opportunities. At the time of writing it has not rained here for several weeks, so dare I say it we could do with a drop of rain.

Last weekend finally allowed a small spray window to apply long overdue grassweed herbicides such as Atlantis (iodosulfuron + mesosulfuron) and Broadway Star (florasulam + pyroxsulam) in wheat. It has been nearly six months since some of these herbicides were originally scheduled to be applied and at last, most are finally on.

The earliest wheats are at growth stage 30 and are receiving some growth regulator and a T0 fungicide. The T0 fungicide may have to be by-passed where outstanding grass weed herbicides are still to be applied or in late sown crops on varieties not susceptible to yellow rust. Disease pressure is currently low so although there is Septoria tritici on the older leaves, there has been no rain splash to infect the newest leaves. With crops very open and conditions dry there will no doubt be a late flush of weeds once the rain finally arrives.

Winter barleys are beginning to move into the stem extension phase and are approaching the T1 fungicide timing. Again, with the weather so dry the disease pressure has eased with rhynchosporium and net blotch the main diseases present.

Oilseed rape crops have improved to the point where fields of stubble as you drive past now resemble the beginnings of a crop. However, many winter rape crops are now by default spring rape like in terms of lateness of harvest and likely yield expectations. Light leaf spot is easy to find in susceptible varieties and it is proving difficult to achieve complete control, despite earlier fungicides.

Not many fields will require a fungicide to shorten the crop, although where required, active ingredients such as tebuconazole can also add to the light leaf spot control. With many crops at the green bud stage pollen beetles could soon be a problem, particularly as so many crops are late and backwards.

Pea and bean weevil could be an issue particularly as spring drilled peas and beans begin to emerge. The u-shaped notches show signs of feeding damage from the adults, but it is the larvae that can do more damage to the roots. Therefore, an insecticide to control the adults will limit larval development.

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