I have to say my hat has been well and truly taken off to all the sprayer operators this year. I wander in, leave them with a great fat wodge of spray tickets, and wander out again. It then tips down with rain until about 6.30 on a Friday evening, giving a full weekend of spraying to do. The message of the potential for disease and not letting the gaps stretch too long between applications has been well and truly taken on board.
The result of this is that the majority of cereal crops look fantastic. Every penny spent on fungicides this year has been money well spent. Most of my wheats will be having a final top-up on the ear over the next two weeks, having had three sizeable chunks already over the last twelve weeks or so. Winter barley has been put to bed and is shimmering in the sunshine (when it finally comes out). Spring barley will be showing its awns soon and will be getting a follow up fungicide.
One crop that doesn’t look too special is any early-drilled maize. Fortunately there’s not too much about, but what there is has struggled in the colder weather. There’s always the temptation to put on some wonder-nutrient maize boost product, but I often think that’s a bit like suggesting to somebody who’s dying of hypothermia and hunger that they have a spray tan to make them feel better. Like most of us, all it wants is a bit of decent summer weather.
Winter rape will be getting dessication tickets before too long. I tend to give two rules when going into rape with glyphosate – no. 1 – don’t rush in with the sprayer – and no. 2 – don’t rush in with the combine. The rape will be ready when it’s ready.