South: Ear wash a “no brainer” this year

Heavy rainfall and very unsettled conditions continue to plague us this season and the results of missed spray opportunities are now very visible.

Wheat crops vary from those that had a timely T1 and T2 which have 3-4 relatively  disease free leaves, to crops that had severely compromised spray timings that have some septoria on the flag leaf and a 50% infection on leaf two with leaf 3 totally defoliated. With such high disease pressure, the decision to apply an ear wash to top up septoria control and combat fusarium and sooty moulds was a no brainer.

The unsettled conditions, high winds and cool temperatures have at least minimised the risk of Orange Blossom Midge with few flying opportunities and little evidence of the pest in crops even in known hotspots.

Barley crops have fared better in this seasons conditions with disease control good in both the Winter and spring crop.

All cereal crops are very tall and top heavy and I fear if the current conditions continue then lodging will occur in places. These tall crops have been caused by a number of factors. Soil nitrogen levels were higher after the dry winter. The season started dry and looked like it would follow the same pattern as the last two years, tempting growers to apply large doses of nitrogen much earlier than normal. Finally growth regulator programmes were severely compromised by the timing delays at T1.

Winter beans are very variable with some coming out of the winter carrying high levels of chocolate spot and despite three fungicides to date are still carrying high levels of the disease. Spring crops will get a second fungicide in the next week or so. Since the onset of pod set we have not had conditions suitable for Bruchid beetle, but if it warms up then an insecticide will be applied to minimise crop damage.

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