North: No more wind and rain please

It appeared comical to me that May’s weather was summed up statistically as average. From an agronomists point of view it was far from average. The cold and wet early part of the month slowed down leaf emergence to a snail’s pace and fungicide timings went out of the window.

According to my reckoning, if you had an early drilled crop of Oakley you will now be approaching T5 or even T6! To add insult to injury, June is heading in the same direction with wind and rain to the fore. I have never spent as much of my client’s money on sprays as this year and I would love to say this will pay hansom returns at the end of the day, but if Mother Nature does not cooperate there will be some very disgruntled farmers.

Wheat does on the whole look well, having shot through growth stages in late May like Usain Bolt. Unlike last year, the lighter land is the shining beacon with very good potential. Wet, heavy soils are a mixed bag but still show potential.

SDHI treatments are being severely tested and at last the manufacturer’s claims for the efficacy of these products can be assessed. However, huge disease pressure will mean a robust ear spray based on rust and septoria control will be essential.

Oilseed rape has at long last finished flowering and again shows good potential, but continuing rain and wind make me worry that some more crops will fall over.

Winter barleys are a bit of a Cinderella crop, but the hybrids do look exceptionally well this year.

The lack of chemicals for good grass weed control is painfully obvious, with brome and blackgrass waving healthily above the crop. More planning is certainly required here if we are to eventually control troublesome grasses.

Beans have enjoyed the wet weather and after the welcome warmth in late May now look good. Pre-emergence products have certainly worked this time, BUT how much would we give for a few more post-emergence options!

A final plea, as crops start to look ominously tall, no more wind and rain please.

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