North: Some crops need disease control

All crops generally look very well as the long run of mild weather continues. With very little rain in the past month most autumn spray programmes have now been completed.

A lot of Atlantis has been applied to small blackgrass in ideal conditions so hopefully control will be maximised. The main issue affecting cereals at present is the high levels of disease, particularly mildew.

Most barley crops are carrying some mildew but varieties such as Cassia, Cassata and Saffron are suffering particularly badly. With such mild weather the mildew has had a free run with no frosts to check disease development. Although exceptional, some crops of barley will warrant a mildewicide so that the barley plants can maintain shoot numbers, biomass and ultimately yield.

The mild weather has also been favourable to both yellow and brown rust in wheat, although some frosts would soon slow disease development. Varieties such as Oakley, Viscount and Robigus have yellow rust pustules which will need monitoring, especially if there is no sign of a cold snap.

Manganese will need to be applied to crops on deficient sites whilst ground conditions are still good. With aphid numbers still well above average for the time of year late drilled crops may need treating with a pyrethroid insecticide.

A lot of oilseed rape crops have large canopies with phoma lesions now very obvious. Fungicides have been applied to control this phoma but also to protect against light leaf spot. Frosts would also be welcome to provide some natural control of charlock and runch as well as open up some thick rape canopies so that residuals of propyzamide or carbetamide can be applied.

Winter beans are emerging very well. A pre-Christmas graminicide may be required to control volunteer cereals or grass weeds such as blackgrass on the earlier sown crops.

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