South: Dry week brings amazing transformation

Having been away for the best part of a month I returned to find even more roads closed, and trees uprooted, due to flooding, than before I left. The rain stopped the day I came back and now, barely a week later, the transformation has been amazing. Drilling is taking place on lighter ground, and all but the heaviest or lowest lying ground is getting fertiliser and hardly making a mark. Last year’s dry summer must have left the soil structure in such good condition the water is flowing through the profile quite remarkably.

Even where crops haven’t received any fertiliser they have greened up considerably. I can’t believe there’s much nitrogen hanging about in the profile, so where they’re getting it from I don’t know. I don’t think it will hang about for long though, so all but the most forward (or wettest) crops will be getting their N+S dressings over the next week or so.

This year will be another year in which early fungicide applications will be pretty robust, to say the least. Septoria inoculum will be very high, and brown rust is not difficult to find. Triazole rates will be high and I will probably mix (or “stack”, if you like agronomy jargon) the triazoles to do my bit to help the fight against septoria resistance. I don’t know how effective that is in reality, but anything we can do to stave off total resistance must be worthwhile. Naturally all the early treatments will include chlorothalonil.

Oilseed rape has started to extend, and will soon be needing a fungicide. I favour good old tebuconazole (plus MBC while we still can). It’s cheap, effective and we have no worries about its considerable growth regulatory effect.

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