North: Do everything to promote tillering

A wasted month.  I suppose that we can invent something good to say about March such as it drying out and the cold killing off all the diseased leaves. That means we’ve lost about 50% of what we had and there has been little new growth to replace it. More specifically, we’re desperate for more tillers.

Do everything that you can to promote tillering. That means selecting spray applications that are kind and avoiding any that are harsh. It also means feeding more small doses of nitrogen fertiliser, ensuring that they are never hungry.

The big decision is how much can you afford to spend on disease control when grain might only be worth £100/t?  Yes, cut costs at every turn by selecting lower-cost products and applying the right dose for the variety and disease pressure.  However, be careful not to cut output because yield is king.

If there is no profit in crops at these prices, there will certainly be big losses if you limit yields by allowing disease to take over.  Therefore, use products that are adaptable to disease pressure and watch the weather carefully at each spray timing.

Cost-cutting will help a little, but you must still extract all the yield that is possible as yield-losses are far more costly.  This is a game of skill and making rash decisions will undermine everything else you’ve done so far.

So far, very few crops have received their first growth regulator plus fungicide treatment as a T0, mainly because it’s been so cold and they are not really ready for it. Most growers are on standby to get it on now, as it comes fit again.

Be careful not to make mixes “hot” as scorch will cause crops to lose yet more green leaf area, just when you should be gaining more.  Of course, what they need more than anything is some warmth and sun so let’s hope that April is kind.

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