North: Plenty of sunshine for grain filling

Combining peas are growing fast and are beginning to flower.  Aphid numbers are building thanks to the recent warm weather. In most cases are exceeding threshold levels so will require an insecticide.  It is also time to consider a fungicide as pod set approaches and although disease pressure is low in the dry weather, most fungicides are mainly protectant so it is worth trying to stay ahead of any future disease build up.

Most crops have been enjoying the intense sunshine over the past couple of weeks.  Winter wheats generally look well with lots of yield potential and although many are thinner than usual, the crop should be able to compensate.

With low disease pressure and fungicides applied on time the leaves are clean right down to leaf five, so these lower leaves will contribute more to yield than they would in a thick crop.  It will soon be time to be checking for foliar urea timings on milling wheats which is when the crop is at the milky ripe stage of grain filling.

Winter barley is rapidly changing to its harvest colour and it will be soon time to consider whether to apply pre-harvest glyphosate.  It will be a useful option where there is a lot of volunteer wheat as a result of min-till, or to aid harvesting efficiency.  The glyphosate needs to be applied once the grain is under 30% moisture content.

There are numerous trials tours to be seeing at the moment as thoughts turn to planning for next year’s crops.  It is always a dilemma to “stick or twist” in terms of staying with tried and tested varieties or trying the next best thing.  With the new varieties offering marginal benefits it seems sense to predominantly stick with what you have and know.  Winter barley is causing a headache with many wondering whether to reduce the acreage for 2011 or drop it all together.  With more local biofuel plants coming on-stream the temptation will be to grow more wheat.

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