South: Deep nitrogen testing reveals low residual N

After a slow start, things are finally getting going. Deep nitrogen test results showed extremely low residual nitrogen hanging around and the cooler weather has stopped crops racing away. They are now beginning to respond to applied fertiliser and it certainly feels like spring has arrived. One observation I’ve made this year is how much quicker crops have responded to liquid N than granular. Whether it’ll make any difference come harvest I’m unsure, but it certainly makes you feel better.

Recommendations are going in for plant growth regulators (PGRs) and fungicides on wheat, barley and oilseed rape. We’re hearing reports of high levels of disease in barley, but I’m not seeing much. They’ve only just turned green and new leaf looks pretty healthy. Our modern army of SDHI chemistry and decent azoles makes disease control in barley an absolute breeze in comparison to the battles we had years ago trying to keep varieties like Pipkin and Halcyon clean.

With last year’s light leaf spot in our memories, and the odd pocket of LLS around the countryside, my stem extension fungicides on oilseed rape are based around getting that wrapped up as well as a sclerotinia preventative. A tebuconazole/prochloraz mix will fit the bill, with many different sources of both actives, without costing a fortune. Quite relevant, given the ever dropping value of oilseed rape.

PGR and fungicide tickets are going in for wheat (formally known as T0, ridiculous terminology, now known in Hunnisett land as wheat fungicide no.1). Disease levels are not raging, but there is a significant amount of septoria hanging about on old leaf that could take off again if we go into a wet spell. I’m still a firm believer in hitting it hard, early, and easing off later if the weather allows us to. Much better than spending the rest of the season chasing disease because we allowed it to get away early on.

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