North: Settled weather makes all the difference

At last, some blue skies and settled weather has given everyone a lift.  A flurry of field work has started with fertiliser spinners aplenty and drilling of spring barley and beans on the more free-draining soil types. 

Oilseed rape crops have woken up and now with a good supply of nitrogen underneath them are all ready for rapid spring growth.  Where fields were not treated with a pre-em then look out for troublesome weeds such as thistles, mayweed and cleavers. 

Where populations of these weeds are high consider treating with clopyralid and picloram.  Make sure to apply the herbicide before the flower buds are visible above the crop canopy so as to avoid the panic phone call about whether the cut off timing timing has passed. 

Some oilseed rape crops have the two extremes of canopy size in the same field, ranging from thick forward areas to others totally skinned to the bone by pigeons.  Such variation in canopy size within the same field makes for interesting nitrogen management of these crops. 

Where pigeons are not providing their own form of light leaf spotcontrol by eating all the leaf the disease is being found but levelsare variable with some requiring a fungicide treatment. 

Soil temperatures are slowly creeping up but it has still been toocold to apply herbicides to winter wheat such as Atlantis or BroadwayStar, but the timings are getting closer.  With the pressure to avoidmixing additional products to Atlantis then in many cases it could be acase of applying the Atlantis and soon going back again with the T0application. 

With such a high proportion of varieties susceptible toyellow rust then a T0 fungicide will be required, but also do notforget about the high levels of Septoria tritici when selecting the T0fungicide.

Most winter wheat crops are requiring some early nitrogen as plantpopulations are generally on the lower side rather than being too high,due to the delayed emergence when the crops were drilled into dustbowlseedbeds.  This early nitrogen will help promote tiller development andpush the crops on, rather than having to starve crops of early nitrogenin a an attempt to lose tillers.  

There is no doubt that one consequence of the NVZ rules is for moreslurry to be applied to growing crops in the spring.  With betterapplication equipment now available the slurry can make a real savingon the quantity of inorganic fertilizer required, as well as giving thecrop a boost that cannot quite be matched from fertiliser out of thebag.  I am not sure if it is just me that seems to turn up to inspect acrop just after the slurry has been applied!

Weed control in spring beans is reliant on a good pre-em herbicideso aim for a good clean start as there are few broad-leaved weedherbicides available post-emergence.  However, deep germinatingcharlock and volunteer oilseed rape always seem to take the gloss off agood pre-em.

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