South: Fungicide applications accurate and effective

 

When the recommendations go in for the earwash fungicides on winter wheat it’s always a nice feeling because it feels like it’s downhill from now on. At least this year it’s been relatively straightforward as far as spray timings have been concerned – most people have managed to keep on top of applications quite effectively.

We haven’t been chasing disease this year in the South, but the weather has recently changed for the worse and there’s still a long way to go, so I’m doing a fairly chunky earwash based around new SDHIs and prothioconazole in the main. Most of my wheats this year will have had three applications of fungicide closer to the traditional three timings like the good old days. I haven’t gone overboard with growth regulators either, but crops are still fairly short. I just hope they don’t grow another foot between now and harvest.

We haven’t had a very growy spring. A few light frosts (some quite late), but generally cold weather. Grass being cut for first-cut silage across the board looked hungry, despite being given plenty of nitrogen. It simply didn’t take it up. Early drilled maize looks very anaemic, and, with pre-emergence herbicides not working particularly well because of the dryness, overspraying for emerged weeds has the risk of knocking it even further. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve said I’ve had more disasters with maize drilled too early than with it drilled too late.

Peas and beans are getting recommendations for fungicides. I wonder if we’ll ever sort out this ridiculous situation we’re in where we can put chlorothalonil on as a formulated mixture, but not as a straight or home mix? Similarly with thiophanate on beans.

What we all want now, crops and humans, is some warm weather. What we don’t want is searing hot temperatures in June like we had last year. We’ll have that in July and August, please.

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