South: Crops have woken up

As predicted, once crops woke up they raced through theirdevelopment. First awns were showing on some winter barley crops bythe third week of April and well-established Soissons – yes, westill grow loads in the south of England – had its flag leafshowing at the same time.

Fortunately, we are not chasing disease, but what was planned asa late T0 has actually gone on at traditional T1 timing, so I’mglad I’ve kept triazole rates relatively robust.

Spring crops have gone in superbly and generally speaking aredeveloping very evenly. Spring barley is showing a few growingpains and in the worst cases this can be rectified with traceelements. But usually I just leave them to it and they grow out ofit on their own.

Pre-emergence herbicides on peas and beans seem tohave worked very well. Pea and bean weevil attacks have beensporadic, with some very bad and some not at all, so goodinspection and prompt treatment is necessary.

Oilseed rape has dragged itself into flower,. but I can’t thinkof many fields that are wall-to-wall even. Early high pollen beetlenumbers seem to have dispersed themselves without too much damage,but I did see a crop that had a number of pods missing due to alate, isolated frost. All crops will be getting a mid-floweringfungicide, probably tebuconazole + MBC.

Maize is going in as I write and might have had a good drink bythe time this goes to press. Any of my growers who used Cadou Starlast year have asked to use it again, as it worked so well. So thatmakes my job easy. I hope there will only be another three or fourweeks of rushing around like the proverbial coloured-behind fly andthings will start to ease off.

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