South: Rain greens up stressed crops

We have finally had some meaningful rain and crops that looked stressed have greened up nicely now nitrogen has been taken up. With further rain forecast this week, prospects look rosier than they did 10 days ago.

Spring barley crops have had a hard time. Little moisture and severe overnight frosts mean many crops are struggling to grow away. The worst-affected crops have recently received a trace element mix to try to perk them up and I have added an insecticide to most of these to prevent BYDV given how much is evident in winter-sown crops.

Rape crops seem to be taking an age to get from green/yellow bud to flowering, no doubt due to the cold overnight temperatures. Pollen beetles have not liked the cold either and are only present at very low levels.

Crops that have come into flower are being treated with a fungicide mix of strob/MBC against sclerotinia when about 30% of the flowers are open on the main raceme, prior to any significant petal fall. The plan will be to follow this up three weeks later with a second fungicide. With rape prices around £400/t a two-spray programme really is a no-brainer this year. 

Wheat crops are at leaf 3 emergence and are currently receiving their T1 fungicide. Very few crops require any weed control at the moment so this is simplifying tank mixes. Disease pressure, especially Septoria, is very high in early-drilled crops.

Epoxiconazole is my triazole of choice because it is better on yellow rust – I am using it either straight or in mixture with boscalid or isopyrazam depending on crop potential and disease risk.

In all situations, regardless of the mix used, I am adding chlorothalonil. Crops following maize are being treated with prothioconazole mix to reduce the fusariam risk later on.

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