South: Growth rates are good and disease is low

After what seems to have been an interminably long winter thingsfinally seem to be waking up.

Crops are going through a sort of adolescent phase whereanything forward has really got moving, but anything backward isstill asleep. This has the effect of making the difference betweenthe two look even greater. But I have confidence that, providedthere is a plant, the two will soon even up. Anyone with teenageoffspring will know exactly what I mean.

For early-drilled winter crops that established well, the winterhas been brilliant. Growth stages are about right for the time ofyear and disease levels are low. Autumn grassweed control has, onthe whole, been very effective and few problems have re-emergedyet. Even for later-drilled crops we have not been chasing weeds,so there is something to say for a proper winter.

Some winter rape crops are just about ready for a stem extensionfungicide and some, but not many, will need growth regulation. Somehave had their growth regulated and disease controlled bypigeons/rabbits/partridges and some have been ripped up andreplaced with something else. Generally speaking anything sown thisspring has gone in superbly and has lifted spirits accordingly.

Normally, when winter wheat is late to move away in the springit has a tendency to race through its growth stages to come intoear at the standard late May/early June timing. Consequently, Ican’t see many crops receiving a T0 plus three fungicides thisyear.

My early wheats will probably have an early T1 at GS31/32, witha T2 at GS37 and a follow up at flag leaf/ear. Later or badlygrazed wheats may well only receive two fungicides and littlegrowth regulation. But, as often before, I could be eating mywords.

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