North: Yield potential promising after refreshing rains

A good spell of rain last weekend has freshened up crops, with yield potential now looking promising. The crops have been set up well by all, now some good weather is required to maximise grain fill.

T3 fungicides have been, or are being, applied to winter wheat crops. Canopies look extremely clean down the profile, with the T3 fungicide topping up foliar disease control, as well as providing some fusarium protection. At the time of writing orange wheat blossom midge thankfully has not been an issue, with cold and windy weather less than ideal for their success. Use pheromone traps or keep checking crops for midge on warm and still evenings until the crop has finished flowering.

Milling wheats will require some foliar nitrogen early next month to provide a protein boost. This is becoming increasingly important with the introduction of higher yielding Group 1 varieties, where protein dilution can be an issue on high yielding sites.

Spring barley crops in the main look well and have probably earned the “Most Improved Crop” award this year after what was a very steady start. A small number of fields have required some growth regulation, as some were getting very leggy.  Awns are just appearing and T2 fungicides are being applied to protect against ramularia, as well as top up the control of rhynchosporium and brown rust in particular.

Spring wheats are now at full flag leaf emergence to ears beginning to split from the boots. Overall they look clean, with mildew needing some earlier control. Do not forget about orange wheat blossom midge in spring wheat, as later ear emergence compared to its winter counterpart prolongs the risk period.

Spring beans look well and are now in full flower. Downey mildew has not been too bad so far, but there have been some hotspots where thresholds have been exceeded. As podset begins, be on the alert for bruchid beetle and use the temperature threshold of exceeding 20C for two consecutive days before applying a pyrethroid insecticide.

Planning for next year’s crops is well underway and low commodity prices are certainly focussing the mind as to what the cropping plan should be for 2016.  Spending some time weighing up the current plan along with alternatives will be time well spent, rather than simply hoping for the best. Increasing grassweed pressures and the three crop rule are also big spanners in the works, which makes formulating the master plan even more difficult.


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