South: Dry weather makes for a busy countryside

It never ceases to amaze me how enthusiastic my clients become once the weather changes. Three months of doldrums, both climatically and economically, and it only takes a couple of weeks of dry weather and the countryside becomes a hive of activity.

It also always surprises me how quickly things can change. The crops I’m looking at now are on a different planet compared with six weeks ago. Forward, lush crops have stayed still or gone backwards, mildew has disappeared, and if we didn’t have rain forecast soon I’d be worrying that the soils would be too dry for the nitrogen to get into the backward crops that desperately need it.

The septoria risk in wheat has lowered, but not disappeared. In our part of the world it is still by far the most important disease. The whole world seems to be banging on about rust levels; in my experience if we manage to keep on top of septoria the rust looks after itself. Although crop prices are at rock bottom, if we come into another wet spell we can’t afford to drop our guard in the battle against this disease.

As it turns out, I’ve ended up putting a specific plant growth regulator (PGR) on only two crops of rape. The rest of it has shrunk back to a point where tebuconazole will do a good enough PGR job on its own. Given the amount of light leaf spot around it will probably get some prochloraz as well and it’s comforting to know I can keep the tebuconazole rates high without over-shortening the crop. As far as I’m concerned, a massive oilseed rape crop going into the winter is a nice problem to have.

PGR and first winter barley fungicide tickets (T whatever…) will be going in soon, to be sprayed early next month. Good quality triazole plus new generation SDHI. You know the one…easy peazy.

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