South: A welcome downpour

Rain on Saturday and Sunday was a welcome relief; we had15-20mm. Until then the weather had been terrific for people onholiday, but not so good for those growing crops.

We’d had temperatures of 24C plus, and with no more than 16mm ofrain in the previous three weeks and constant wind, soils had badlycracked and dried out.

Winter wheats are at full ear-emergence to mid-flowering(GS59-65). Most have had a T3 fungicide and the rest will betreated this week.

The T3 application should be considered an extension of the flagleaf spray and is a critical part of the fungicide programme indisease-prone varieties.

A T3 fungicide is also useful in controlling fusarium ear blightand so mycotoxins. Tests for these are now being aggressivelycarried out by millers, and loads of wheat were rejected last year.Alas control of fusarium is rather high and difficult toachieve.

Winter barleys are at the milky ripe to cheesy ripe stage andtoo late to spray with fungicide.

Spring barleys are at the full ear emergence and will be treatedwith T2 fungicide this week.

Some oilseed rape crops in close rotation that flowered over aprolonged period have been sprayed with a second sclerotiniafungicide.

Considering how dry it has been, it’s remarkable how good cropslook overall and the recent rain should help them attain theirpotential.

Atlantis (iodosulfuron + mesosulfuron) has given poorer than usual grassweed control this year,probably due to the cold weather in February and March and the dryspell in April.

It’s now time to carry out field mapping of areas where controlhas been poor, with perhaps resistance the cause, and to get theweed seed tested. Remember to collect samples only when the seed ismature, which is usually when it falls off the head on shaking.

Spring wheat A C Barrie looks particularly good on the bettersoils and could yield well, but I fear it’s struggling onWiltshire’s thin chalky land.

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