South: Sickly looking crops need plenty of TLC

Last month I said that spring barley has perked up after aweek’s dry and warm weather.  Nowwe seem to have gone backwards with much of it is looking pale and sickly againas the weather has been far from ideal – night temperatures as low as 4 degreesdon’t help at all.  Virtually allnow have ears out and are flowering. It will be interesting to see what they yield this year, I’m notexpecting the bumper yields of last year though.

Winter barley is turning fast and most are still standing(but we have had more than 30mm of rain over the weekend so that may havechanged things).  Fungicideprogrammes have worked well, as they are still looking clean, so they have beenable to feed ears well which I think will result in good yields, certainly thestraw yields will be high!  Thereare some patches of late germinated wild oats around, but still not as many asI was expecting.

Winter wheat is flowering well with some early varieties nowat grain filling.  Disease controlhas been highly variable this year. I think timing has been the key driver for this year.  Where the gap between T0 and T1 was fourto five weeks and the gap between T1 to T2 was no more than three weeks,disease control has been good.

Thetrouble has been that the weather has meant that timings have been stretched byat least a week in many places. This has put more pressure on T3 sprays meaning that more has had to bespent than was budgeted. That’s because we have been targeting fusarium andrusts as well as making sure we have some good septoria activity as well. 

Some crops are starting to lodge, mostly on the highfertility sites, but the majority are standing well.  The lodging risk will start to rise now as grain fillingstarts and the weight at the top of the canopy increases. 

If I talk about oilseed rape crops that are leaning/lodgingI’m likely to get sworn at so I think that’s enough said!  With the weather still being far fromideal, alternaria risk is high so be prepared to go through again if you arefinding it.  The thing to watchwill be latest label timings, some are harvest intervals and some are growthstages.  If needed my products ofchoice would be Filan (boscalid), tebuconazole or if you haven’t used two stobsalready Amistar.

With flowering having been extended this year, timingdesiccation is likely to be a difficult one as, combined with theleaning/lodging, seed maturity is probably going to be highly variable.  This may well be the year where Diquatis the preferred option rather than Glyphosate.

Grain and forage maize is also struggling with theweather.  Growth is slow and mostcrops are yellow and or purple. Some fields still have water sat in parts.  Very few crops will be knee high by the start of July.  Check crops for slug damage as well as herbicideneeds.  I have seen a lot which arebeing shredded so be prepared use slug pellets where needed.

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