North: Hoping for a kind mother nature

The weather has picked up in the last month and generally most crops are responding to the more clement conditions. Winter barleys have awns peeping and will require their final fungicide. Disease has been kept in check by the previous spray and the ramularia risk prediction for this region is medium to low. Thus a quality azole/strobilurin/chlorothalonil mix will suffice.

The variation in winter wheat growth stages has closed up in the past four weeks and spray timings are getting easier to plan. Most crops will have received their T1 fungicide, in many cases the first, so thoughts will be turning to flag leaf options.

The SDHI products, whilst appearing expensive, may well be an option to maintain the potential on all crops. Crop prices will remain firm so every extra kilogram will help to reduce last year’s pain! If you wish to go down the triazole route then use a robust rate of epoxiconazole or prothioconazole in conjunction with chlorothalonil. Some fields may require further growth regulation, but this will depend on variety and field fertility.

The flowers in oilseed rape are masking the openness of many crops. However, this may reduce the sclerotinia risk in some situations. Subsequent rainfall will dictate the spray strategy. A two-spray programme may be required where previous history of the disease has been high. Alternating and mixing active ingredients will improve disease control and extend activity.

Spring barley crops are the “big white hope” for this year and most are looking promising. Pre-emergence herbicides applied under an EAMU have in most instances given good control of annual meadow grass, but some broadleaved weeds have slipped through and will need to be tidied up.

Disease levels are low, but nevertheless a fungicide at T1 will still give a yield lift. Prothioconazole plus chlorothalonil at this time may reduce the possibility of ramularia later on. The addition of a strobiluron will assist with rhynchosporium control. An SDHI may be considered next time around.

With Cereals and the Highland Show looming, here’s hoping Mother Nature is kind to us in the next few weeks!


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